Former Castleford cobbler of the year marks five years since getting the cancer all clear

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A cobbler from Castleford who went through a tough few years following the death of his mum and his own cancer diagnosis is looking to the future after getting the all-clear.

In 2011 Derren Smith, then 46, won Timpson regional Cobbler of the Year for his work as manager at the Carlton Lanes shopping centre branch.

He’d been in the business for 30 years. But life took a turn for the worse when his mother died in 2012.

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The veteran cobbler from Airedale suffered bouts of depression and was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2018.

Castleford cobbler Derren Smith. Picture Scott MerryleesCastleford cobbler Derren Smith. Picture Scott Merrylees
Castleford cobbler Derren Smith. Picture Scott Merrylees

He also lost two siblings during that period.

But he is now – after more than 20 rounds of radiotherapy – celebrating five years clear of the disease, ten years with his partner Keeley Leese and success with his business based at Castleford Pet Supplies, having left the trade for a few years prior.

He said Keeley gave him “a shake” to get back on track and was his “new leese of life”.

He said: “My outlook is all good now, we're pushing forward. My five year all-clear is January and we are going on holiday to Lanzarote.

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Derren with England cricket U-19s captain Ben McKinneyDerren with England cricket U-19s captain Ben McKinney
Derren with England cricket U-19s captain Ben McKinney

"It's Keeley's big 5-0 and our ten-year anniversary. It's a triple celebration – I have everything to look forward to.

"This is everything I wanted to do. Before my mum passed away she said she was proud of me.”

He said he was grateful to Marlon and Jo Streugheir for the chance to run the new business.

Marlon asked him to show some staff how to work the machinery.

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Derren said: “I asked, ‘who’s going to be running this,’ and he said ‘you if you want’.

"This was like the golden ticket to run my own business in my own town – especially after the cancer.”

His shop – Shoe Sheriff - has now been open for three years. As well as cutting keys and repairing shoes, Derren converts trainers into cricket and golf shoes, delivering them around the world.

He has also sponsored the England under-19 cricket team with the likes of captain Ben McKinney representing the brand.

Derren added: “I want to thank Keeley’s family for their support during my cancer ordeal.

"Also Darren and Sharon Moore at the Eagle pub in Castleford for organising a charity event for Macmillan.”

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