Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland civil servant Derek Dubery named 'spectacle wearer of the year'

Civil servant sees off competition from thousands to land coveted prize

By John Mulgrew

He's a 50-year-old Banbridge civil servant who has just been named the UK's 'spectacle wearer of the year' - fending off 12,000 others to lift the title.

Dapper Derek Dubery - who stumbled into modelling in his late 40s - said he's "gobsmacked" after winning the top Specsavers title during a star-studded event in the swanky Northumberland Avenue in London.

The Kent-born man was chosen out of thousands of entrants, with judges including X-Factor icon Louis Walsh, and celebrities such as Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and modelling legend Twiggy among those turning out.

A regional finalist for the last three years, Derek said it was a "major shock to get through to the actual final".

He's been with agency CMPR Models, run by Cathy Martin, for the last nine months.

"I've been modelling for about 18 months. It came as a real surprise. I was at a party and was asked would I be interested in signing.

"I did, and then moved over to work with Cathy, where I've been for nine months."

Since then, Derek has done some acting and worked at Belfast Fashionweek.

He's due to appear at the event next week, which kicks off on Thursday, October 20.

But he says he would be "voted least likely to be a model" during his school days. "I was such a geeky child, so I'm surprised to be doing this at my age," he said.

To enter the Specsavers competition, Derek said hejust had to send in a selfie. For each one entered, the company gives money to anti-bullying charity Kidscape."If it's deemed good enough then you might get through to the regional section, which involves an interview," said Derek.

"The event was very flash and I was very impressed."

But now it's back to the grindstone for Derek - returning to his day job as a civil servant.

Aside from his title, he walked away with £10,000 and a lavish trip to New York.

And to ensure his credentials as the UK's top spectacle wearer remain, he also landed £1,000 worth of glasses from Specsavers.

Derek lives with girlfriend Lisa, who teaches special effects and make-up.

When he's not working or strutting his stuff on the catwalk, he spends time with his three rescue dogs and his cat.

"The dogs and cat, that takes up a lot of my time. I haven't been on holiday for years. The New York trip will be amazing."

And as for how he'll splash the cash, Derek said: "For the holiday, and hopefully for some treats and paying off some debts - just the boring things."

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