Former comics editor Derek Lord died at 10.10am on Thursday 23rd September 2004, having been rushed into hospital for an emergency operation for a perforated bowel. He was 77 years old.
I’d known Derek for about five years – from when I contacted him about the possibility of working on the proposed Eureka magazine. I spoke with him on the ‘phone on the Tuesday morning before he died. I spoke to him regularly — he was always on my telephone bill. The only communications I had from him were little notes and postcards. He communicated with everyone that way.
His notes have been turning up on my reference desk all over the weekend.
Since that first contact there have been many setbacks and disappointments on Eureka – but Derek was not the type to give up. For every door that closed, he opened another three. He was up to date with his information and knew precisely the right person to get in touch with.
Derek was editor fro two years on the Eagle. He left the title, along with many others, when it was taken over by Amalgamated Press and the entire ethos of the Eagle was changed. He worked for Reader’s Digest and the Milk Marketing Board before an inheritance enabled him to go freelance and allowed him to concentrate on the idea of a replacement for the Eagle.
Prior to Eureka, there was to have been Excalibur and Terra Nova, the latter with Ron Embleton, Don Lawrence and Keith Watson. For various reasons neither publication got off the launching pad.
I met Derek face to face only four times. Although wearing thick glasses, stooped and elderly, he nevertheless impressed me with decisiveness and clarity of thought. He knew what he wanted in Eureka and I found that I wanted very much the same. He wanted to produce something modern and of lasting quality – a difficult task.
Goodbye, Derek – I’m going to miss you.
· Derek Edward Gerard Lord, editor, born July 12 1927; died September 23 2004