TRIBUTES have been paid to much-loved Stourbridge community stalwart Derek Elton MBE, who has died at the age of 96.

Derek passed away on October 1, just over four months after being invested with his MBE at the Elton Centre - the town centre community hub that was named in his honour.

He was married to wife Joyce – who died six years ago – for 65 years and the couple had two daughters, Dale and Dawn.

Derek, who died from heart failure after a bout of pneumonia, is also survived by six grandchildren – Garth, Laura, Amy, Scott, James and Guy – as well as 10 great-grandchildren.

A statement issued by the family said: “Derek was very much a family man. He valued his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren immensely, and enjoyed being with them all.

“He really valued his family holidays, particularly in Anglesey and Wales.

“To put it in a nutshell, Derek always had time for somebody else – to have a chat with people and to listen to what they had to say.”

Derek was awarded the MBE earlier this year for his services to scouting and the community, particularly his work in helping to found the Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen branch, of which he later became president.

Dionne Legge, chief officer at the Elton Centre, where the Age Concern branch is based, said: “Derek was a very well loved and respected member of our organisation.

“We as an organisation were immensely proud of Derek and that all his fabulous work in scouting and the community had finally been recognised in such a magnificent way with his MBE.

“He was a weekly visitor still to Age Concern Elton Centre where he would chat with service users, staff, volunteers, and, of course, day care clients who looked forward to his wonderful stories of his many adventures.

“We will miss him greatly. He was a wonderful gentleman, a joy to have known.”

Derek’s scouting accomplishments were plentiful, having first joined as a cub aged 15 with the 1st Stourbridge St Thomas Scout Group.

He climbed the ladder all the way to the movement’s most senior honour, the Silver Wolf award – awarded for service of a most exceptional nature – in 2008 after 70 years with the Scouts.

In between, he was a patrol leader, a scoutmaster, Assistant District Commissioner for Cub Scouts in West Mercia and President of Kinver Scout Camp.

Derek was a founder member of Stourbridge Baden Powell Guild, which he was branch president of at the time of his death, as well as being a former National President for the Guild.

He was an active member of the Holy Trinity Church congregation and spent his working life primarily in the insurance industry as a successful broker.

Derek’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, October 30 at 12noon at Holy Trinity Church, Wordsley, followed by a committal service at 1.30pm at Stourbridge Crematorium.