Who was Derek Butler?

The Derek Butler Trust was a grant-making charity established by the will of Derek Butler, who had a passionate interest in music. After a childhood in London (except for a spell in the country as a war evacuee), Derek Butler’s first journey away was for National Service in Northern Ireland. This gave him a taste for travel and thereafter he spent most of his life abroad. He lived for a lengthy period in Nigeria where he became involved in a company manufacturing head ties for Nigerian women. Eventually he took over the company and developed the business, so that by the time he died in 1998, his distinctive head ties had become sought-after articles of clothing for important events and celebrations in the Nigerian community, in the UK and in Nigeria itself.

The manufacturing process was complicated and required several processes before the finished product emerged. He designed the patterns himself and the head ties were manufactured in Switzerland, Japan and latterly in India to where he travelled regularly. The business flourished despite economic difficulties in Nigeria and by the time of his early death from cancer of the oesophagus, there was a sufficient sum of money in his estate for the charity created under his will. The grant making charity established by the will of Derek Butler Charity made grants in the fields of HIV, cancer, music, and music education. Guts UK (formerly the Digestive Disease Foundation) was a regular beneficiary of The Derek Butler Trust to fund a 3 year Fellowship in upper GI and when the Trust was wound up, Guts UK received endowed funds to enable this Fellowship award to continue into the future. Derek Butler’s legacy continues.