1940 – 2015
Robin Davies died on 5th April 2015 in Warrington General Hospital following a short illness. He qualified from Manchester with a BDS in 1962, a PhD in 1968 and between the two gained a Diploma in Bacteriology (Dip Bact). He held posts as Senior Lecturer in Periodontology in Manchester; head of Dental Research at ICI, where he was involved in the development of chlorhexidine oral rinses and composite restorative materials; Professor of Periodontology in Bristol; and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry in the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh.
He returned to Manchester in 1990 to head up the joint Colgate / University of Manchester Dental Health Unit, becoming Professor and Director of Clinical Dental Research Europe which provided evidence for the benefits of Colgate Total toothpaste.
Robin’s achievements in research and teaching have been well documented and while he will be remembered by the profession as a whole for his undoubted excellence in these fields, he will be remembered by those who were students with him and his academic colleagues as extremely friendly, fun to be with or to have a coffee with.
He was also a supremely gifted rugby player who played for Manchester University and then Broughton Park RFC, one of the leading club sides in England, alongside English international players Tony Neary and Tony Bond and Irish international Kevin O’Brien. He gained over thirty county caps for Lancashire at centre alongside Tom Brophy the England fly-half.
When Brophy transferred to Rugby League, Robin took his place at fly half and was considered for selection for the Welsh International Team. He had opted for Wales because his father was a Welsh speaker as was his uncle, who was also a Welsh MP, however, the incumbent Welsh International fly half was British Lion David Watkins, who also transferred to Rugby League when he was replaced by the great Barry John. This proved too big an obstacle to Robin’s international ambition and it has been suggested that had Robin opted for England instead of Wales he might well have succeeded in his quest for international honours.
Dr Barry O’Driscoll, himself an Irish rugby international who played with Robin in all his University and Lancashire matches, was fulsome in his praise of Robin’s ability to find and exploit weaknesses in the opposition teams and said he was a highly respected and popular rugby player.
Robin was that rare combination of high intellect, supreme athletic ability, impish sense of humour and friendly warmth that charmed all who met him. He is survived by his wife Gill, three daughters, two sons and ten grandchildren.