The colleagues of a worker from a Scottish supermarket who tragically died in Covid-19 went around the street in homage to him, while today he was rested.
Derek Blair, 43, was honored by his fellow workers at Asda in Clydebank, who went out on the street to clap their hands on the coffin as he made his way through the city to his final resting place.
Derek, of Dumbarton, tragically died of coronavirus on April 24 after being in intensive care at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for two weeks and six days.
He has been described by those who worked with him as “one in a million” who “always smiled”.
Derek’s sister Linda Craig thanked NHS staff for the whole family, including Derek’s mother, June Blair.
He said to the Record, “The family appreciates the care and attention Derek has received at the RAH.
“We took comfort from the lovely messages and the turnout for the funeral.”
His cousin, Kirsty Learmonth added: “He was a beautiful soul and will always be in my heart”.
The hearse traveled from Dumbarton, past the June house, where neighbors applauded Derek.
The cars then traveled to Clydebank, Dumbarton Road and Argyll Avenue where Asda’s staff applauded for him.
He then traveled through Dalmuir before going to Dalnottar Crematoriam.
A 35-year-old family friend, Mandy MacFarlane traveled behind the cars in procession and made videos of giveaways.
He said, “Since the first day I met Derek, he’s been a cheeky guy.
“He knew everyone and he always hugged you.”
Ross Gray, a security guard at the Clydebank store, told Derek Record that the type of person “everyone should strive to be.”
He said, “You could talk for hours about a nice guy like Derek.
“I worked on day shifts with him for about a year and a half. He worked in front of the baskets and always came to have a chat.
“Everyone loved it.
“He’s the kind of guy everyone should strive to be, just happy with life.
“He gives you five and you always stop to see how you were.”
Longtime friend Alan Fergusson told the Record: “I have known Derek for about 20 years, first as a work colleague and then as a friend.
“Derek had a nice warmth towards him and was a true gentleman for everyone. It was an honor to be there to applaud him and, for the number of people who showed up, it only shows how popular he was and what he meant by many people.
“We will be greatly missed by so many people and will never be forgotten.”
Asda’s colleagues also showed a framed photo of Derek in their staff room and created a charity bucket in honor of Golden Friendships – a community group that helps vulnerable people of whom Derek was an active member.
Claire Deeney, who has been collaborating with Derek on Asda since 1991, said: “What a beloved character, he always had a smile on his face and made us all laugh.
“You haven’t been able to meet a prettier person for almost 15 years than I worked alongside him.
“Even when I left, I went to Asda, who was there with a big smile on her face and asked me what my family was like and always gave you a big hug.”
Friend Charlene Kielty met Derek through the Golden Friendships.
He said to the Record, “Derek was one in a million. He always took the time to talk to you and always smiled.
“It would do anything for anyone, if I needed a chat it was there for you.
“It’s really a huge loss, so many people are really grappling with it.”
He added: “Looking at everyone in line for him was fantastic. I didn’t expect so many to come.
“I am so proud of the people of Clydebank and Dumbarton for collaborating.
“Everyone will miss it, but we’ll see it soon.”
Charlene created the public Facebook page. In Memory of Derek Blair was created in his honor, with many sharing their fond memories of him.
A post read: “I hope your family can take a little comfort from knowing how well thought it was. Just so sad. “
While another commentator noted, “It was an incredible turnout … Derek will miss you so much from anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting you. RIP OFF.”
Derryk’s neighbor Derry Gerry Carey said: “Derek was an adorable guy.
“Always cheerful and nice. He couldn’t do enough to help his neighbors.
“We will miss him sadly. The whole road is devastated.
“Our hearts go to Derek’s mom in June and the rest of the family.”