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Derek Hadler - 1935 to 2015

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Derek was born in Crayford in 1935. He went to the Maypole School on Dartford Heath and later to Dartford Technical School in Wilmington where he became Head Boy. While at the school he took up athletics and was introduced to Cambridge Harriers by his PE teacher, Joe Jagger. Graham Martin and Dil Evans also joined Cambridge Harriers from that school. Derek excelled in many sports including Basketball but athletics became his passion. In 1954 he travelled to Birmingham and won the AAA National Junior Long Jump Championship with a jump of 6.81m.


Derek was probably the best Track Captain Cambridge Harriers will ever have as he took on this role for 17 years at the same time as being Team Manager and often covered the sprints, jumps and throws to gain maximum points, jeopardising his own event the long jump. His pb for the long jump was over 7 metres and he always competed in the Kent Decathlon, coming 2nd one year at Charlton Park to Dil Evans. He was a regular winner of Club Championships in the 100, 200 and 400 metres and then in the Winter he, with the other sprinters, took part in the club 5 cross country event in Joyden's Woods.


Derek was coached mostly by Reub Meyhew and trained at Charlton Park. He was selected for the 1958 Commonwealth Games Trials to be held in Cardiff but unfortunately he badly injured his foot at work the day before the event and sadly was placed only 6th. After retiring from work, Derek kept fit doing long runs on Sunday mornings with Marlow, mostly over Dartford Heath.


Derek and Marlow were married in 1962 and had one son, John, who also became an athlete. Derek coached John for many years and later took on the role of Young Athletes' Team Manager and as the devoted proud father that he was, he travelled everywhere to watch John compete and train. During this period Derek did some Veteran's athletics (now called Masters). He reached a high standard in the 400 metres and clocked a very respectable 52 seconds aged 40. The family tradition has continued with John’s son George who is a very successful hurdler winning medals at the English Schools championships over 400 hurdles


Derek's occupation was of a scientific background and on leaving school he worked in the Paper Industry at Bowater's, Northfleet doing research into plastic and packaging. Later Bowater's became UK Paper and the Firm moved to Sittingbourne where he became Quality Assurance Manager, setting up their British Standard's scheme. He travelled a lot with this job and often went to the Mills in Sweden. He remained with his Firm for 46 years until his retirement in 1996.


Derek was a proud and loving family man. Some of you may remember him as a very kind and gentle man. He was softly spoken and had a beatiful smle. To the end of his happy life, he remained a perfect gentleman.



Derek was one of Cambridge Harriers' longest serving members having joined in 1952. The club would like to extend its sincere condolences to Derek's wife, Marlow, and to all his family and friends.


For those wishing to pay their respects, the funeral will take place on Friday 29th January at 11:45am, Eltham Crematorium, Falconwood, London SE9 2NL.