Leatherseller Scholarship Programme Benefits from Generous Bequest

A most generous bequest of nearly £500,000 has been left to Colfe’s School by alumnus Derek Wyles (OC 1946), who passed away in 2021 at the age of 92.

The gift will support the Leatherseller Scholarship Programme, which enables the school to award fully-funded means-tested scholarships to outstanding pupils from local state schools joining our Sixth Form. These students continue to achieve at a high level and past scholars have gone on to study Mathematics, Architecture and Classics at Cambridge, and medicine at Imperial College, London, which is where Derek himself studied science just after the end of the Second World War.

Described by his family as a “true gentleman”, Derek joined Colfe’s in 1937 in Form 2. His time at the school was abruptly terminated in 1940 when the London Blitz necessitated evacuation. He finished his schooling at City of London School, but remained loyal to Colfe’s throughout his life, and was involved with the Old Colfeian Cricket Club for many years, organising the Club’s annual tours to Devon with enthusiasm and efficiency from 1957 to 1980.

After serving briefly in the RAF, and finishing his studies, Derek subsequently built a highly successful career in the textile industry, managing the Central Dyeing department at Courtaulds Textiles, one of the world’s oldest and leading textiles companies.

Headmaster Richard Russell said:

“We are delighted to be able to honour Derek’s memory with his extremely generous bequest to our Leatherseller Scholarship programme which is now well-established. A gift of this magnitude makes a real difference as we seek to establish an endowment which will fund the programme in future decades.”


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