Moving tribute to Derby’s first black magistrate who has died

A moving tribute has been paid to Derby’s first black magistrate who has passed away at the age of 99.

A devoted father and husband, Charles Sheridan Hill worked hard to improve race relations in the city and leaves behind a lasting legacy in the community.

Born on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, he moved to England in the 1950s.

He was appointed a magistrate in 1969 and became the first black Justice of the Peace in Derby, and the second in the UK overall.

Mr Hill died aged 99 on July 2 and while a funeral at Derby Cathedral was planned, due to coronavirus restrictions, a quiet ceremony was instead held at the Broadway Baptist Church, in Duffield Road, on July 20.

His daughter Judy Hill said her father was always “a man of honour with integrity and charm”.

She said: “He was a man always willing to help others with diligence and grace, a man with a strong social conscience who worked tirelessly to better the lives of others in a social and lawful capacity.

“He will always be remembered for his love and guidance that sustained us throughout our lives and his devotion and dedication to helping others in order to make a better life for us all.

“His legacy will live on within the Derby West Indian community forever.”

Charles Hill arrived in Derby during the 1950s and became the city's first black magistrate
Charles Hill arrived in Derby during the 1950s and became the city’s first black magistrate (Image: Derby Telegraph)

After moving to England in the 1950s Mr Hill worked as a printer at Bemrose & Sons until his retirement. He also spent much of his time volunteering to local causes in Derby.

His daughter said: “He was committed to pushing forward in an effort to break down social barriers and improve race relations and was a member of the local race relations board.”

Mr Hill was also the last-surviving founding member of the West Indian Community Association, which was formed in 1955.

The association still serves the community from its base in Carrington Street.

In 2019 Mr Hill was invited to the Mayor of Derby’s office for high tea and was presented with a booklet in recognition of his achievements for the community in Derby.

His daughter said: “He leaves behind his loving family and will be deeply missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

“He was a family man, a proud father, grandfather and great grandfather, and devoted husband to his loving late wife Delia.”

Sign up for the Derbyshire Live newsletter

To receive a maximum of two FREE daily bulletin e-mails from us, as well as breaking news as it happens, sign up to the Derbyshire Live newsletter.

Just select the newsletters you receive from our East Midlands sites here.

And if you later decide that you no longer wish to receive the emails, you can just follow the unsubscribe link in the newsletters – though we hope this won’t ever be necessary.

While a planned funeral at Derby Cathedral could not go ahead due to coronavirus restrictions, a memorial service in Mr Hill’s honour is expected to go ahead later this year.


Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News