The equestrian world has lost one of its greatest characters with the death of Derrick Watts.
From his Halesowen home, Derrick travelled all over the country for decades coaching riders from the tiniest Pony Club beginners to international eventers.
With his unique teaching style he inspired confidence in horses and riders alike, encouraging them to fulfil their potential, whether that be to compete for Riding Club, Pony Club or their country. He was equally at home rubbing shoulders with Royals or mucking in at Pony Club camp.
Born in Cheltenham in 1946 where he worked originally, Derrick was a familiar, unforgettable ringside personality even to those who did not know him.
Such was his passion and determination, despite battling cancer for months, he continued to teach until the week before his death.
His partner of 27 years, Maurice Turner, said: “Derrick kept what he called his business life very separate and until he was no longer able to drive himself I was not involved. He couldn’t walk unaided the last time he taught, but didn’t let that stop him.”