Derek Crabtree – funeral arrangements and tributes

Funeral arrangements for Derek Crabtree have been confirmed.

The funeral will take place on Friday 6 November at 11.30am in St Stephen’s Church, and will be followed by by a reception – with finger buffet – from 12.30/45 in Keynes SSCR and Quiet SCR. The family have requested no flowers, please, and donations, if wished, to St Stephen’s Church.

The Keynes flag has been flying at half-mast as a mark of respect for Derek, who was Master of Keynes College for 20 years.

The Reverend Dr Stephen Laird and Professor Maurice Vile have been in touch with their written tributes to Derek:

Derek Crabtree was appointed as a Lecturer in Politics and Government at Kent in 1967 and later promoted to Senior Lecturer. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 1932, he studied at the University of Leicester and Nuffield College, Oxford. In 1955-6 he was a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. He taught at the University of Exeter from 1956 to 1967, during which time he was seconded for a year as the Acting Head of the Department of Public Administration of University College, Ibadan, now the University of Ibadan. Shortly after taking up his Lectureship at Kent, Derek became a founding member of Keynes College and was elected as the second Master of the College in 1973. Repeatedly re-elected by the Senior Members of the College he served as Master for twenty years, a feat that will certainly never be equalled. In 1995 he became an ordained priest in Church of England, and served in the University Chaplaincy, and for many years after his retirement from the University in 2002 as a part-time priest in St. Stephen’s Church. 

Derek will be mourned by his colleagues and by many alumni of the University of Kent, for he was both an inspiring teacher and an understanding College Master who would offer help to any student, or member of staff, who needed it. Supported by his wife, Christiane, he presided over the College, creating an atmosphere in which academic staff, college staff and students alike felt part of a genuine community. At a time when College Masters were an integral part of the central government of the University, Derek played an important part in the running of the College system and ably chaired the committee which liaised with the campus trades unions. His contribution to the University during its formative years was immense.
Professor Maurice Vile
Emeritus Professor of Politics

One of Derek’s last visits to the campus was to a lively party in January of this year which had been put on to celebrate the refurbishment of Eliot College Chapel, where he met a new generation of staff and students. During the speeches, Derek was introduced as the most honoured guest and his active membership of the Chaplaincy Team, which lasted for several years from the late 1990s, was recalled. The current full-time Chaplains, who count themselves fortunate to have arrived on the scene during this period of Derek’s involvement with Christian ministry on the campus, benefitted greatly from his encouragement, wisdom, wit and occasional caution. Derek had a thorough knowledge of the University community: not just present and former holders of positions of influence but also – significantly – long-standing members of the domestic and support staff.

Revd Dr Stephen Laird
Dean of Chaplains and Associate Lecturer