With Derek’s passing, the University lost not only a benefactor whose generosity enabled students to engage in so many opportunities in music. We all lost a kind and friendly man who has been ever-present on campus to support students or concerts, and who never failed to give all those around him a smile and a humorous comment. Any concert, you could be certain that Derek would be sitting in the audience, carefully observing the performances. And I can recall that every now and again, when the music seemed a bit too adventurous, you would see him switch off his hearing aid to then lean back, close his eyes, and blissfully enjoy the calm with a smile on his face.
I personally had the honour to receive multiple scholarships from both Derek Ogston and Margaret Carlaw for which I am forever grateful. It is not only the financial help alone that is so special, but rather the personal relationships both formed with their scholars who received an abundance of support and encouragement. Derek’s investment of time and money in the academic journeys of young emerging artists like myself, does not only help to expand skills in composition, conducting, or performance. It makes this whole music department a more vibrant place for music culture and one of the most outstanding departments to study at in the whole of Scotland and, indeed, way beyond.
Derek’s great passion for music showed yet again, when I asked him and Margaret to be patrons of my orchestra, The King’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra. For me, this was the musical venture closest to my heart, and Derek did not hesitate for a second to offer his support. The King’s wouldn’t have been possible without him. It goes without saying, Derek attended every concert and he took great pleasure in providing the refreshments after the show. Once, we were presented with a huge cake, carefully decorated with the name of the orchestra and a big ‘Well Done’ written in sugar icing.
It is memories like this, that have made my own musical journey wonderful in every respect. I am forever grateful for the invaluable support I have received from Derek throughout my musical journey, lastly as the Professor Ogston Postgraduate Research Scholar which enables me to study for a PhD in Music. But I am sure I can speak on behalf of all Ogston scholars, and indeed all music students, when I say the musical life at the University and our Orchestra will be different without him and we will all fondly remember the wonderful conversations and Derek’s warm and kind humour. He will be sorely missed.