‘Brave’ organiser of Birdman dies, age 69

Derek Trotman and Sharon Clarke at Worthing Birdman
Derek Trotman and Sharon Clarke at Worthing Birdman

A ‘BRAVE’ and ‘wonderful’ man who is credited with bringing Birdman to Worthing has died following a battle with cancer.

Derek Trotman, 69, passed away surrounded by his family at his home in Bognor on Sunday.

He was heavily involved with the organisation of the popular Bognor Birdman competition but when the event was cancelled on safety grounds, he helped revive the event in Worthing.

Speaking on Monday, his mother Connie, 96, of Curzon Close, Worthing, paid tribute to him as ‘one of the good ones’.

She said: “He has been absolutely wonderful, and he has been a wonderful son.

“Ever since my husband died, although he lives in Bognor, every single Saturday, he has been over here and done what he could, like all my gardening.”

She added: “He was always looking after me. Nothing was too much trouble.

“It’s always the good ones that go.”

Mr Trotman was a key organiser of the world-famous Bognor Birdman but in 2008 it was cancelled because part of the pier had to be demolished.

It was feared the depth of the water which competitors would leap into would be too shallow.

But determined to carry the legacy on, Mr Trotman approached Worthing.

Despite initial reservations, the town accepted his offer, and ever since the event has grown and grown.

Mrs Trotman said: “He considered Worthing as his home town and thought it would be nice to have it in the town.

“He did say he might offer it to Brighton but then Worthing said yes so it didn’t go any further.

“It is a good, fun weekend, especially if the weather is nice, and it still will be because of the people who are going to continue with it.”

The funeral will take place at Chestnut, Ellasdale Road, Bognor, on Saturday at 2pm, with all who knew Mr Trotman welcome on the day.

For the full tribute, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, February 20.