Christopher Davies (19th February 1945 - 2nd July 2023)
Chris Davies died on the 2nd July 2023 after a long battle with cancer. I met Chris a year or so after I arrived at RHS. This was in 1959. My limited knowledge of music was enhanced by some education from him, and we became good friends from then on. He was an accomplished musician who could play the clarinet and associated saxophone. I could only play a gramophone! He was a stalwart member of the Red Hill School jazz band, and this band occasionally toured around other schools and local village halls. He took particular interest when there were NHS nurses in the audience!
His love of music took him to his first job at Chappells Music Company in Bond Street, London. He helped to calculate royalties and was rewarded with freebies to concerts and musicals....and pay of course! One memory I do have is of meeting Chris at Chappells and finding (horror of horrors) that I did not have the required sixpence for the parking meter that I was using. However, near to Chappell's back door stood Dick Emery, so Chris dared me to approach the guy to ask if he had any change for my two bob bit. I did, but was met with his trademark guffaw as he could not find any small change. I duly thanked him.
After leaving Chappells he became an off-licence manager, where his knowledge of wine helped many people to choose the correct bottle. Amongst his satisfied customers was the British Equestrian team (as was), and many of the snooker players on the circuit in the 70s and 80s. One shop that he managed was in North Wembley, the nearest to the Stadium. On many occasions there were very entertaining times when significant matches like FA cup finals and the England v Scotland games. Sometimes a piper would stand outside piping the customers to the door - they were never let into the shop - they had to buy at the door; safer that way!
Chris was, for several years a scout leader, working with 16 to 20 year-olds, involving hiking, camping, rock-climbing amongst the list of activities.
It was thought that his love of photography was developed at RHS which continued for as long as he was well enough. His love of jazz music started at RHS as well, and this took him to 26 Brecon Jazz Festivals where he mixed with many legends of the day. One memory I have was of Chris and I in Piccadilly Circus where we came upon a wonderful busker on his clarinet. There was a huge crowd listening and a guy standing next to me expressed his admiration. Chris said that he taught him, but this guy did not believe him. So I chimed in confirming what Chris said. The guy shut up! The player was none other than Jeremy Bore (another ex-Redhillian).
At my wedding in 1965 Chris was one of two ushers, and my wife Marion's stepmother alerted Chris to the usher's duty of looking after the bridesmaids. The other usher was married to one bridesmaid, so Chris did his duty to the other bridesmaid i.e. Marion's sister Angela. Chris and Angela were married in 1968 and Chris's further attention to his wife produced two sons - Richard and Steven, and a grandson Morgan, and granddaughter Erin.
Tony Hillman with Angela Davies - July 2023
NOTE: the picture of Chris above was taken by Adrian Gray on 25th February 2017