Fitting tribute to former Derbyshire college principal

An apple tree has been planted in the grounds of @DerbyCollege Group's Broomfield Hall campus in tribute to the former principal Clark Field, who passed away in August aged 70.

Mr Field was principal for 11 years until 2002 and left as Broomfield College, as it was then known, merged with the city's Wilmorton and Mackworth colleges to become Derby College in 2002.

His widow Daniela, accompanied by daughter Caroline and grandchildren Ollie and Benji, travelled to the site to help with the planting of the Blenheim Orange apple tree, which Mr Field had grafted before his sudden death.

Also present was current assistant principal Eileen Swan, who worked with Mr Field for many years at Broomfield College.

She said: "It is extremely fitting that there is a lasting tribute to Clark Field in the grounds of Broomfield Hall. 

"He was the college principal here for nearly 11 years and, during that time, one of his many key achievements was to broaden the curriculum to include such areas as animal care, equine and countryside and conservation. 

"He also introduced the concept of commercial services at Broomfield such as floristry and plant sales to run alongside teaching and learning to generate income and also provide valuable work experience opportunities for students."

Clark Field

Mr Field arrived in Derby via a number of educational institutions. He was born in Yorkshire, near Holmfirth, and went to university in Leeds to study agricultural science before studying for a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) in Bath, where he met his future wife.

He taught in Kent, Ashkam Bryan College in Yorkshire and then became deputy principal at Houghall College, now East Durham College.

Mrs Field said: "Deep down, Clark originally wanted to be a vet but his father passed away and he was forced to take a year off at the wrong time and never got his grades.

"But he did not let that stand in his way and he actually ended up with four degrees, including an MBA and was also a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society.

"Clark was a very unassuming but very principled person and always believed in being truthful.

"He was very proud that Broomfield was not supported by a subsidy but was not in debt and was self-sufficient. He also set up exchanges with the Czech Republic before such things were widely done for students."

Mr Field could frequently be found as a judge at various shows including Derbyshire County Show, was involved in Rotary International and a life member of CAMRA and accrued a beer collection over 45 years.

"Clark had a zest for life". said Mrs Field. "He was the life and soul of parties and at his funeral, people from his allotment in Spondon lined the streets to pay tribute.

"When Clark left Broomfield, he worked for a while within Derby College but then moved to work on a sustainability project at Trent Bridge, from where he retired and spent time gardening, on the allotment and also in the garden of our house in the Czech Republic.

"He also made jam, chutney and elderflower cordial and was never bored."

Mrs Field said her husband's death was unexpected. She said: "He had a cancer scare and the prognosis was good. He was in hospital to have some treatment and slipped and fell. He suffered a head injury and passed away, which was a shock to everyone.

"More than £800 was donated in his name and half of this has gone to the Spondon Horticultural Society and the rest to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The couple also have a son, James, and two other grandchildren.

Mrs Field added: I am glad we had time to travel together over the years because we had plans for doing more things and of course these have been cut short.

"We have scattered some of Clark's ashes in his native Yorkshire and when we are able will take the remainder to be scattered on his favourite hill in the Czech Republic."

As well as planting the tree, Clark's brother Gary has also arranged for a memorial bench to be placed at Broomfield.

After the tree planting, Mr Field's daughter Caroline Owens, said: "My brother James and I have such happy memories of living at Broomfield and exploring the amazing grounds here - it was our giant playground.

"It has been lovely to come back with my own children and to plant this tree in my father's memory."

Planting a tree at Broomfield Hall campus of Derby College in memory of former principal Clark Field is his wife Daniela Field and daughter Caroline Owens with children Ollie (three) and Benji (one). Former colleague and current college assistant principal Eileen Swan is holding the tree. 

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