South Africa and Back! - Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue

South Africa and Back!

Derryck - Shooting

You might have believed that our General Manager, Derryck, was South African through and through … actually he was born right here in Edinburgh!

Fair enough though, he did live in South Africa for some twenty years from the age of four! And there he is receiving a shooting trophy at the age of 11.

An electrician, his Dad wanted to be part of the coal mining boom that was taking place in South Africa, so moved the family there in 1984. Their home at Ermelo was within 75 miles of some 25 mines and his Dad worked in quite a number of those over 15 years.

By the time Derryck had completed a degree in Marketing and Business Management, his Dad was running a mining supply business and Derryck worked with him there for three years. He ended up buying and selling their vast and amazing range of products – anything from flame-proof underground drills to dynamite!

What a huge contrast then to Derryck’s first few weeks back in the UK where his first job was picking mushrooms in Tranent. It was only a few weeks though as he joined us in October 2004.


Since that time Derryck has been an integral part of the team, working in customer support for the first couple of years before becoming the IT manager and subsequently the General Manager in 2008.

Derryck - Sheep Spit

And he’s glad he doesn’t have to travel too far to get to work now. Remarkably in South Africa he had an hour’s journey each way to secondary school and one and a half hours each way for university.

That vastness translated into other areas of life too. A barbecue wasn’t a small affair with a few friends, it was a major event with anywhere from 30 to 50 people attending. Clearly you would need to cook an entire sheep on a spit for that sort of occasion. And there’s Derryck aged 4 with his Dad doing just that!

Derryck also followed the great rugby tradition in South Africa, avidly playing for his school until a scrum collapsed on top of him, crushing two of his vertebrae. Unsurprisingly that was the end of any contact sports. Never one to be defeated, though, he’s now trying to persuade his five-year old son to take up the sport. Just don’t mention the f-word …

… football!

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