Deryck Renton was a well-loved teacher with an eccentric taste for “loud and outrageous” ties.
Now his legions of friends, colleagues and former pupils are being given the chance to own one, and with it a piece of Ellon Academy history.
A modern languages teacher at the school from the early 1990s until his retirement in 2018, Deryck also taught cookery at the school.
Having been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in April this year, he died in July, a week before his 68th birthday.
Generations of pupils and teachers were left mourning the loss of an “iconic” figure.
But that same community are fulfilling his last wish, which has left Ellon Academy covered in his vast collection of 104 weird and wonderful ties.
They’ll be on display in the school until the end of term, while they’re auctioned off on Ebay to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Deryck Renton: ‘His ties were a part of who he was’
Fran Tomlinson, a geography teacher at the school, used to carshare to work with Deryck.
“His thing was to come into school in a black shirt, every day a black shirt, with these outrageous ties,” she said.
“He had a tie for every day and every occasion. A remembrance tie, a Christmas tie, a Pride tie, ties for teaching French in, ties for teaching German in.
“Often kids would get him a tie as a gift, and the more loud and outrageous the better.
“He was eccentric in the best sense, and his ties were part of who he was.”
And indeed, part of his legacy, as Fran explains.
“When he told me that he had terminal cancer, he asked me if I would use his ties to raise money for Cancer Research.
“Only a few hours after putting a post up on Facebook we’ve raised over £500.
“We’ve been inundated with people wanting a piece of Ellon Academy history.
“I’m just so touched by the response, and that so many people want one of his ties.
“Deryck would have been delighted.”
Rubik’s Cube tie the early leader in charity auction
At the time of going to press, a particularly zany Rubik’s Cube tie was setting the pace with 30 bids within a few hours.
One former pupil described Deryck as “iconic”, and when speaking to those who knew him, it’s clear why people would want to own one of his famous ties.
“Deryck was a genuinely well-loved man,” added Fran.
“The kids called him a legend, or ‘ledge’, but he really was a legend. They referred to him as ‘DJ Renton’ and they all just loved him.
“He was loved by the academic kids and he was loved by those who struggled academically or had challenging behaviour.
“He was immensely intelligent – he could speak French, German, Russian, Italian and even a few words of Chinese. And he was immensely funny too, and just popular with everyone.
“At least two current members of the department are former pupils of Deryck’s, so that tells you something.”
To bid for one of Deryck’s ties, simply search ‘DJ Deryck Renton ties as worn at Ellon Academy’ on Ebay.