Obituary - Lyn Davies, 1950-2013

25th January 2013 at 00:00

Lyn Davies was an incorrigible collector: he spent weekend after weekend bartering at car boot sales for items he thought might come in useful one day. As a result, his Woking primary acquired old photos, antique display items and, bafflingly, a cement mixer.

Lyndon Davies was born in Cardiff in June 1950. A keen sportsman, he competed in the decathlon during the 1970 Commonwealth Games. But his ultimate aim was always to teach: he wanted to inspire children to share his love of sport.

While he was studying towards a BEd at Cardiff University, his parents decided to move to Bournemouth. But Mr Davies had no desire to live there, so he took out a map and randomly selected an alternative.

Thus began a teaching career in Woking. He was appointed to the Winston Churchill School but within 18 months was head of PE at Sheerwater County Secondary.

Naturally gregarious (colleagues knew that a conversation with Lyn would not finish quickly), he took an active interest in pupils' progression. He was quick to spot potential and his response to "I can't do it" was always "Yes, you can."

It was at Sheerwater that he met geography teacher Shelley Towers. She was impressed by his confidence and charisma; they married in August 1978.

Although sport was his first love, Mr Davies also wrote, told stories, painted and played the guitar. So, in 1984, he decided that primary teaching might allow greater scope for his skills. He began at Sythwood Primary, where he rose to become acting deputy head. In 1988, having been appointed to Beaufort Primary as deputy, he found himself promoted to acting head on his first day. The post was eventually made official.

At 6ft 3in, weighing about 20st, he was an undoubted presence in his new school. And he made a point of knowing all 600 pupils. He regularly brought his labrador, Bruno, into his office to receive pupil visitors. Similarly, he often drove one of his 35 motorbikes into school for children to inspect. And he was a vocal advocate of Outward Bound trips, always ensuring that funding was available for disadvantaged pupils to come along.

A devotee of car boot sales, Mr Davies would dig out items from cupboards at home to help bring teaching topics to life. But he also picked up objects that he thought might come in useful at school one day: a cement mixer or a woodworm- infested shop cabinet.

Once a year he took his family to an "autojumble", where he sold antique car parts. He relished the to and fro of barter and would drive a hard bargain. "I didn't find it in a field," he would say, if someone offered an insultingly low price.

He retired in 1999, because of ill health. The ensuing years were spent compiling a local history, Around Woking, which was published in 2004.

Lyn Davies died of a brain tumour on 11 January. He is survived by his wife, Shelley, his children, Kate and Ben, and his granddaughter, Thea.

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