DJ Derek honoured by Lord Mayor

25 04 2012

One of Bristol’s best-loved DJs, 70-year-old DJ Derek, was today awarded the city’s highest civic honour, the Lord Mayor’s Medal. At a special ceremony at the Mansion House, Derek Serpell-Morris and more than a dozen other nominees were honoured for their charity, voluntary and community work.

DJ Derek (right) worked as an accountant at Cadbury’s in Keynsham before becoming a washboard player in a reggae band in St Paul’s in the 1950s.

This led to a DJ career which has seen him play at festivals including Glastonbury and The Big Chill. Members of Massive Attack have praised him, and he starred as himself in a Dizzee Rascal video.

His 70th birthday tour takes him to Start The Bus next month, and in June he is joining the DJ lineup at the Love Saves The Day festival in Castle Park.

When not indulging his passion for music, Derek combines his two other passions, coach trips and real ale. As well as travelling every National Express route in the UK, he has also visited every Wetherspoon’s pub.

His Lord Mayor’s Medal citation reads: “Derek Serpell-Morris, best known as DJ Derek, was born and bred in Bristol and retired from his first career in accountancy to follow his love of music in a second career.

“Due to a lively awareness of changing musical styles, DJ Derek has demonstrated a remarkable ability to tap into the tastes of different ethnic groups and generations.

“From his one-time base at the Star and Garter pub in Montpelier he has travelled far and wide, including festivals at Glastonbury and in Spain, and is well known as a DJ who speaks on stage in a unique mix of Jamaican patois and unmistakable Bristolian.

“To be working and totally accepted in a young person’s environment at a ‘mature’ age is highly commendable.”



19 responses

25 04 2012
25 04 2012

to be djing and be accepted across not only cultural divides, but also generational, is no mean feat. I’ve seen Derek play numerous times and his mix of old, new, rare, poppy and fun music never fails to move a crowd. I wish him every success in the future and lots more years indulging his passions. Well Done on this award, Knighthood next huh?!

25 04 2012

Congrats to you DJ Derek, an instintution, an inspiration, much love and respect, Bx

26 04 2012

Is there ever a Bristol gig he doesn’t play at? Bore off…Yawn

26 04 2012
Anita Creed

What a souless thing to say. And very sad.

26 04 2012
Marc Richardson

Well move out of Bristol then!

26 04 2012

You’d rather your DJ’s didn’t play gigs?

26 04 2012
Marc Richardson

A true living legend.

26 04 2012
Jon Crocker

Reblogged this on OISE Bristol Blog.

26 04 2012
emmy @gd4td

DJ Derek – what a legend!

26 04 2012
Abigail Edge

Still going at 70 – what a legend!!
Ps. Derek I can only apologise for the Wetherspoon’s pub in Dudley…

26 04 2012
Jules Landau

Good on Derek, shame he never got the two tone sound though! I’ve had at least two heated discussions with him about UK ska and reggae into the small hours…

26 04 2012
Sive Lamb

Yes Derek.. Big up yaself!! Jah rastafari.. one love.. Ali n Sive

26 04 2012

DJ Derek is a complete and utter Badman !BRAP

27 04 2012
Julian Kigwana

I think he should run for mayor himself. More real ale, better public transport and roots-rock-reggae. What’s not to like?

27 04 2012

Think the journo who wrote the piece may have got their facts wrong about Derek playing in a reggae band in the 50s. Ska didn’t happen till about ’61/2 and reggae didn’t appear till 68/’69… And a washboard? Sounds more like a skiffle band to me…
Anyways, he’s an inspiration and proof to anyone over 40 who thought they might be gettting a bit old to be DJing now.. that you’ve only just been warming up!!

4 05 2012
Chris Brown

Mark is correct – the term reggae or in fact the original spelling of ‘Reggay’ was coined by Toots Hibbert in 1968. Or perhaps Lonnie ‘Jah’ Donnigan was ahead of his time 🙂

16 05 2012
Lord Mayor’s Medals 2012 | Lord Mayor of Bristol (UK)

[…] Serpell-Morris, best known as D.J. Derek, was born and bred in Bristol and retired from his first career in accountancy to follow his love […]

4 06 2012
Following Your Passion: A Reggae Based Case Study

[…] More about Derek here and […]

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