Obituary: AAA Founder Dan Davies OBE

The Amateur Athletic Association and England Athletics are sorry to hear of the death of Amateur Athletics AssociFounder Life Vice President Daniel Davies. Dan sadly passed away in October 2022 aged 101. He was a true legend in Athletics.

He had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Air Force which after conscription in 1942 through a permanent commission in 1946 embraced 34 years until retirement in 1975. When he retired aged 55 he moved on to teach in civilian education with the same dedication he gave to military service.

He held a lifelong interest in athletics. A talented runner and trophy winner in his early days, he graduated from University and RAF representation into coaching, team management and officiating.

While serving at RAF Yatesbury, already a mentor and coach to athletes Dan took one young national serviceman, Derek Ibbotson under his wing, coaching him and ensuring he had time off to compete nationally and internationally. Derek won a 5000 metres bronze medal at the 1956 Olympic Games and broke the World Mile record at the White City in July 1957. In his biography and in speeches, he gave credit to the help he had from Dan. Similar support to other RAF athletes led to many gaining international selection at three major games.

Dan went on to train, mentor and assist RAF athletes for another 20 years. During the 60s and 70s he became the driving force of the RAF Athletic Association steering Track and Field and Cross Country Teams to unprecedented success and individuals to international honours. Runs of over 20 successive Inter Service Team Championships and Olympic, European and Commonwealth Games representation says much for his efforts.

After leaving the service Dan continued to contribute as a Life Vice President of the Royal Air Force supporting competitions in person whenever he could.

He served the Midland Counties AAA and Shropshire AAA with distinction, an outstanding Midlands Treasurer for many years and one of their most distinguished Presidents.

Dan was a leading British Athletics Official. He was secretary of the AAA Officials Committee from 1969 to 1974. He modernised Officials’ Handbooks. He wrote a much-needed coaching handbook. He was the Chief Judge at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and Referee at the 1973 Europa Cup.

His well known achievements make Dan an outstanding legend but that is not all. His legacy for many of us was the kind, unselfish, perceptive way he touched individual lives helping people to meet their goals not only in sport but in their careers.

Photo from AW website