Derek Parker – Local Author/Historian (died 2014)
My background is that I have lived in Johnstone and Elderslie all my life i.e. nearly 70 years. My family come from an agricultural background (Yorkshire Dales/Shropshire/Staffordshire) and came up to Scotland to work in 1904. They also looked after large estates and parks (hence the name, Parker – one who looks afterparks).
I am now retired after working as a journalist with the Paisley Daily Express and as a countryside ranger at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park from 1985 till 1999 (Muirshiel/Castle Semple and Barnbrock Farm). It is amazing that I followed in the footsteps of my park-working ancestors of hundreds of years ago when I fulfilled a lifetime ambition of becoming a ranger at Clyde Muirshiel Park.
For as long as I remember I have always been interested in the countryside, especially its folklore, history, botany, archaeology, wildlife and pre-Christian and Christian spirituality.
Academically, I gained a Master of Arts degree in English literature and language from Glasgow University and a Bachelor of Divinity Honours degree from London University.
Now that I am retired I enjoy cycling in the countryside and continuing my research into its history and traditions