Family's thanks to Chapel-en-le-Frith community after funeral of war veteran Derek Eley
The family of a Chapel-en-le-Frith war veteran has thanked the community after hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects at his funeral.
More than 350 people lined the streets of the town on Friday for the funeral of Derek Eley.
Mr Eley, who died last month aged 103, was hugely respected in the town, having been one of the founders of Chapel Football Club, a supporter of Chapel Mobile Physiotherapy and the president of the Chapel branch of the Royal British Legion.
The World War Two veteran was given a full military funeral with members of his former regiment attending, as well as a guard of honour with standard bearers. The Last Post was played before the service at Town End Methodist Church.
His daughter Janet was at the funeral but his son Robert who lives in Australia was unable to fly over due to the pandemic.
However, he was able to watch online and said: "It was wonderful to see all the people on the street paying respect to Dad. I understand there were many more further up the street.
“I’ve read the comments posted on social media and seen the media reports.
"I am delighted with the response but to be honest I am not surprised.
"Dad related to everyone, but especially those in Chapel which was his home for all but two of his 103 years.
"The town recognised him by the naming of Eley Way and awarding the Freeman status. The people recognised him on Friday by their attendance. We thank them all.”
After leaving New Mills Grammar School, Derek started working at Ferodo and was one of 40 employees who joined the Territorial Army in 1939. However, two days after the outbreak of war he joined the 2/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters with the TA and headed off to France.
His military career took him to Palestine, Italy and Egypt and he was discharged in 1945 as a colour sergeant having also been part of the 51st Highland Division.
Alan Tideswell, of Tideswell’s Funeral Service, who organised the service, added: “The turnout was phenomenal, there must have been almost 400 people on the streets.
"Derek may have been a war hero but he was also a hero of Chapel and respected by the whole town.”