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A Belated, but still, warm welcome to Des...

A Belated, but still, warm welcome to Derek, who joined the firm back in the middle of lockdown.


I was born in Portslade, on the outskirts of Brighton on 28th October 1950.

Second son of Frank & Queenie Sillence, twin brothers were to follow 5 years later. My whole family has been in the construction industry for over 150 years. One brother was a plumber, myself and my young brother were both electrical engineers. The other brother a sign writer.


Left school at 15 with one O Level in carpentry. Wanted to be a carpenter. Was not possible at the time. So, I took my second choice. Started working for Brighton Council as an apprentice electrician. This training covered all aspects of electrical work, from normal housing wiring to street lighting maintenance, sub-station installation and maintenance. My role on the council ended as chief electrical inspector for the Environmental department, carrying out electrical testing in private landlords’ dwellings, these reports normally ended up in a court case.


My best time working for the council was spending a whole summer rewiring all the street lighting on the sea front, from Brighton through to Hove.


More of my job roles in the following years, was a in store maintenance technician then maintenance manage for the Southern region for M&S.


Property Service and Health & Safety Manager for Study Group. This job involved setting up a new maintenance department covering 35 schools and 10 accommodation blocks around the UK. I managed a staff of 65. cleaners, security, gardening staff as well as all the sub-contractors we used at the time.


I have also been a H&S Manager for a large electrical contractor, Contracts/ H&S manager for a small building company in Portsmouth, working mainly in large shopping centres and NHS hospitals.


In 2006 I moved up to Wakefield to move in with my then girlfriend (now my wife), following her Liver transplant. It has been 13 years since the transplant, all has gone well in this time.

When I moved up my first job role was working for Nationwide Maintenance in Leeds as their Contracts assistance and Health & safety officer. During my time with them I put the Leeds office through ISO 14000 and 18001 accreditations. Receiving almost perfect scores from the ISO auditors. At the same time I was put through the ISO audit process. You never stop learning. The company was then taken over by Europa, who laid most of us off.


My next temporary role was for Printraft in Baildon, as Health & Safety officer covering maternity leave. Nice job role learnt a look about the print industry.


I then moved on to work for the Harris Partnership in Wakefield (Architectural Company) working as a PD/CDM Advisor.


During my time at Harris I have worked as PD on shopping centres owned by British Land, Crown Estates. My largest PD role was for Amazon on a £80million warehouse in Darlington as Pre -construction PD, then as CDM Advisor for Amazon on the construction side. I have also worked as PD and CDM Advisor on a block of new flats on the old Yorkshire Post site, Valve £35million, Sweet street flats in Leeds £32million were I acted as PD for the demolition of the old council buildings.


One of the most interesting projects I worked on, was as PD for the construction and Fit-out of the New McLaren Body shop in Sheffield. Do they make some super cars, pity they are so low down I could not even get into one, let along get out without help?

I really love the work I have done in my working life.


In April, this year I started to work for Onedesign as a PD, working alongside Simon.

In my spare time, I like to fish, from sea fishing to coarse fishing. I have fished in the Bay of Mexico, fishing for Merlin and yes, I did catch one. I am also a very keen DIY, er. I love making stuff and can turn my hand to most things. This year we have even turn our hands to growing our own veg.


Love foreign travel with my wife (Leena). I have been to some very interesting countries in my life, China must be one of the best, so clean, people are very friendly .Leena and I love cruising and have been on a couple over the past few years. One of our favourite destinations is Tenerife where we have a time share apartment.


My main hobby now is building models for my N Gauge railway. This train stuff has been boxed up for at least 10 years now. Its time it was put up. But first I need a new shed at the bottom of the garden. Coming soon.


I also collect gold coins; this is an expensive hobby.




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