‘A true gentleman and a great friend’

Donald Davies.
Donald Davies.

THE funeral of Mr Donald Davies took place in Carnmoney Parish Church on Saturday, November 12.

Donald was former managing director of his family’s firm, EA Davies Insurance in Glengormley, and President of the East Antrim Old Vehicle Club (EAOVC).

He passed away on Saturday, November 5 at Belfast City Hospital Cancer Unit. He was 72.

Born Donald Patrick Davies in Dublin, his family moved to Glengormley and lived in the house where the insurance business is based on the Hightown Road.

Donald attended Ballyclare High School before working as a social worker in Ballymena. A position he was thought of very highly and still remained in contact with former colleagues right up until his death.

In the mid seventies he began helping in the family run business which had been opened by his father Albert in 1954.

Eventually he got so involved, that he retired as a social worker and worked full time in the brokerage, alongside his sister Dorothy.

Donald was responsible for numerous Lloyds Agencies doing business in Northern Ireland, as he would often visit London promoting the province.

Iain Patterson, manager at EA Davies paid tribute to Donald, saying: “Donald Davies was a friend and colleague to the staff at E A Davies & Co for over thirty years.

“He ensured the business strived to meet the needs of the community whilst at all times working ethically and honestly.

“Donald was always willing to help, often going far beyond what was expected of him.

“As he approached semi-retirement he still came into the office every day and made sure he spoke to everyone. In private meetings with management he made a point of asking about every individual and their family, in recent times he was the organiser and the life and soul of the office Christmas party, always disappointed if someone could not make it.”

Donald used his spare time to work with classic cars, often deliberately buying cars ready for the scrapheap and restoring them lovingly, taking great pride in photographing them at the various stages and then finally presenting them at a classic car run.

Indeed his last project, which was a Karmann Ghia, had its first run following the horse drawn carriage at his funeral.

He was also a great charity supporter both as a businessman and an individual, although most of this was done in private as this was the type of man he was.

Iain added: “I was a privilege for the staff to have known and worked with such a man and he will be missed on a daily basis by all.

“We were all very proud to see various representatives of the community pay their respects to Donald on the day of his funeral to the extent people had to stand at the back of the church as all the seats were taken.”

Donald was inspirational in helping to bring back the very popular Belfast to Portrush vintage and classic car cavalcade.

Robert Raj, past president of the EAOVC, paid tribute to Donald at as a “gentleman, a good listener and a friend”.

He said: “Donald was the master of classic cars and possessed a great knowledge about them.

“He was a gentleman and good listener and a good friend. He was very much charity minded. He liked to help various charities and he did with many, it was a measure of the man.

“In the last 10 years of the Belfast to Portrush cavalcade he was the lynchpin that was instrumental in raising well over £40,000 for various charities including the Hospice, Children’s Hospice and the Martin Residential Trust among many others.

“And this year we will be presenting a cheque for over £6,000 to Friends of the Cancer Centre which is based in the City Hospital, where he regretfully passed away last Saturday.

“Donald took pride in being able to help others by the efforts of his club.

“He was a chairman of the club in 2007-2008 and I was the secretary, we had a great bond and worked well together. It was a pleasure to have known him, working for him and working with him.

“He was appointed president in 2011. Unfortunately he was unable to do very much owing to his illness. His last function as president was to prepare the annual president’s run. He made it to the start of the run at the Chimney Corner Hotel to wish the participants well, but was unable to accompany the cavalcade of 30 or more vehicles in his beloved DeLorean.

“Donald never forgot to show his appreciation for those he thought had helped on any of our events. He was generous, he was helpful and he was humble and always courteous.”