Prof Roy Davies OBE dies aged 85 after decades of work with UEA and the John Innes Centre

Prof Roy Davies, OBE, has died aged 85. Picture: Sian Macdonald

Prof Roy Davies, OBE, has died aged 85. Picture: Sian Macdonald - Credit: Archant

After an eight year struggle with Alzheimer's Prof Roy Davies OBE, a former Dean of Biology at UEA and deputy director of the John Innes Institute, has died aged 85.

During his quarter of a century at UEA, Prof Davies was Dean of Biology for eight years and a key player in discussions on the siting of a new hospital alongside the John Innes Centre. As deputy director of the John Innes Institute, and acting director for two years, he was pivotal in the creation of a new conference centre which is now used widely by the local community as well as by scientists.

Prof Davies lectured in north, south and Central America as well as India, Iran, Turkey and Europe. In Brazil he gave research advice and lectured on behalf of the Royal Society, while in Bulgaria he led a group of industrialists on behalf of the government. Other visits included to Ireland on behalf of the OECD, while his work in was for Turkey for the British Council.

Alongside his research in Norwich, which started with cell walls in green algae and ended 26 years later by introducing genes into pea plant chromosomes, Prof Davies spent eight years editing Heredity, the journal of the Genetical Society of Britain. He was on the editorial board of Mutation Research and Radiation Botany; edited three John Innes Symposia and wrote on genetics. He sat on numerous government committees on agriculture and the governing councils of four science research establishments.

On retirement in 1994 as professor of applied genetics and head of applied genetics at the John Innes Centre, Roy Davies was made Professor Emeritus and an OBE.

Prof Davies was born in 1932 in the schoolhouse in Glynarthen, a rural farming hamlet in Cardiganshire where his father was headmaster. He spent the first eight years of his life speaking and being taught in Welsh. Singing in Norfolk Millennium Male Voice Choir and Eaton Parishes Choir during retirement took him back to his roots in rural west Wales.

He also served as chair of governors at Thorpe St Andrew School and governor of Norwich School for many years. Donations to either school in his memory are encouraged.

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Prof Davies is survived by his wife Fran, four children and eleven grandchildren. His funeral will take place at St Andrew's Church Eaton at 1pm on Thursday, April 19. Any donations in his memory can be made via Gordon Barber Funeral Director, Church Lane, Norwich, NR4 6NZ.

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