Reaseheath College’s Food Industry department has honoured a former colleague by dedicating a technical centre to him.

Derek Allen, who died last year, was Reaseheath’s Commercial Senior Technologist and had worked at the Nantwich College since 2008. The Derek Allen Innovation Room, which was unveiled to staff and family members last week, provides a research and new product development facility for small and medium sized businesses in the food and drink industry.

The room, which is fully kitted up to industry standard, enables businesses to develop new products from raw materials to packaging in a single process. The facility is for hire and also includes the support of trained technologists if required. Bookings have already been received from many local and regional businesses.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Food Centre Curriculum Area Manager Nick Blakemore said: “This facility is a fitting memorial to Derek, who had 30 years’ experience in product development and was always willing to share his expertise with those who were looking to extend their range or make their production more efficient. He was particularly good at processing problems and countless business people who acted on his advice have benefitted from his extensive knowledge and practical skills.”

Derek’s widow Janey, daughter Hattie and son Ed, who live in Nantwich, were guests of honour at the ceremony.

Janey said: “This has been a very touching event and absolutely what Derek would have wanted. We are delighted that his name lives on in this excellent research facility.”

As well as his long association with Reaseheath College, Derek was also a keen supporter of Nantwich Town Football Club.

For more on opportunities for research and new product development in the food industry visit the Reaseheath Food Centre website.