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About Lyn (1951 - 2013)

By Professor John Stradling

Lyn Davies, founder of Stowood Scientific Instruments, died after a short illness on May 30th 2013. Many of you will remember Lyn as an extraordinary one-off in the sleep world. He was truly someone who made a difference to those around him and beyond.

Born in 1951 in Morriston, near Swansea, he was educated at Amman Valley and Ystalyfera Grammar Schools. He went on to study engineering at University College Cardiff, graduating with the best engineering degree in Wales in his year. It was during this time that he developed an interest in classic motorbikes and met Cathy his future wife.

Following graduation, he worked on modelling ocular microtremor for a bioengineering PhD at Cardiff. His first jobs were working for the NHS in Nottingham and subsequently at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. From 1984 to 1992, working for Oxford Medical (part of the Oxford Instruments Group), he was the driving force developing their sleep monitoring systems. Prior to this the available systems had been rather embryonic, and the new devices were successfully used by many around the world.

Indeed it was at this time that I first met Lyn, who was extremely helpful in getting the Oxford Sleep Unit’s monitoring capability off the ground. Oxford Instruments then made an unwise choice, deciding there was no future in sleep monitoring equipment, and Lyn decided to go it alone, setting up Stowood Scientific Instruments (SSI) in his garage in 1992. With help from several previous collaborators, in particular Hugh Goodwin and Paul Gladding, SSI developed several products for the sleep world that were designed to do exactly what was required.

Lyn always paid close attention to the needs of clinicians and technicians to ensure that the equipment SSI developed met their needs; an ethos that his SSI colleagues are keen to continue. Despite the competition from giants in the industry, Lyn’s company prospered (in a now enlarged and modernised ‘garage’!); one of the main reasons SSI is and will continue to be successful was Lyn’s intelligence, personality and personal approach, a legacy he leaves behind. He was kind and generous, always willing to stop, talk, help and problem solve, both in and out of work. Many will remember his wry sense of humour and leg-pulling expertise.

Away from work, apart from classic motorbike restoration, Lyn developed a passion for singing and was a key member of the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir, developing a wonderful and moving solo voice, which in recent years featured in many concerts around the country. Many in the ARTP will remember his passionate rendering of Why Why Why Delilah at the karaoke contest during their annual conference dinner a couple of years ago - it brought the house down.

It was characteristic of Lyn that when he knew the end was near he wanted to have a party he could enjoy, to which he could invite as many friends as possible, and say goodbye. Thus a week before his death, 175 friends and family assembled in a marquee in his garden. They shared in a program of readings and musical performances, selected by Lyn, and all organised with lightning speed by the family. The program included both moving and humorous performances by his Welsh choir and their musical director.

His death leaves a void in many peoples’ lives, but in particular those of his wife Cathy and two sons, Gwilym and Pierre.

Because of his long support for the ARTP, they wish to commemorate Lyn’s contributions with an annual prize at their conference in January. Anyone wishing to contribute to this memorial prize, could they please send any donations (payee ARTP) to:

ARTP (Lyn Davies Award)

c/o Executive Business Support,
City Wharf, 
Davidson Road, 
WS14 9DZ
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