Obituary: Roy Davis – longstanding owner of Pennington Cross Garage

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At its peak, Roy employed around 35 staff at Pennington Cross Garage

LONGSTANDING Pennington Cross Garage proprietor Roy Davis has died at the age of 99.

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Born in Plymouth in 1921, Roy had two brothers, Gordon and Ian. His father was a congregational minister so the family moved around the country during his childhood spending time in Launceston, Northwich and then Manchester.

Roy suffered in childhood from pneumonia, which left him unable to join in school sports. He attended Sir John Deane’s Grammar School in Northwich, before going on to Stretford School where he enjoyed carpentry and metalwork.

After leaving school Roy trained as a mechanic at the garage of a friend’s father in Manchester. His family moved to the New Forest in 1938, acquiring Pennington Cross Garage where Roy undertook vehicle repairs and servicing.

During the war years the business was the only fuel station operating in the Lymington area because of its location away from the town centre.

Unable to enlist because of his childhood health problems, Roy volunteered as a special police constable during the war. He particularly remembered directing the troops arriving in Lymington for disembarkation on D-Day.

Roy Davis

He was also a taxi driver taking passengers to London and other areas, often during the hours of darkness with the headlights obscured because of the blackout.

Roy married Phyllis at Pennington Church in 1949 and the couple made their first home together on Milford Road, a short distance from the garage. In 1950 Roy and Phyllis welcomed their first daughter Sue, followed by Judith in 1953.

The business continued to grow with Roy building a new workshop, developing the forecourt to be the only garage in the area to have a canopy over the pumps, and extending the showroom. He also built a house attached to the workshop where the family lived until moving to Wootton in 1967.

At its peak Roy employed around 35 staff. His daughter Judith, who also worked in the business, said: “Lots of the staff stayed with him for many years, and he stayed in touch with them after he retired. My father was always generous and caring and did what he could to help people.”

Roy and Phyllis returned to live in Lymington in 1978, moving to Kingsfield, close to the marina where Roy moored his boat. They enjoyed boating trips and social events with friends from Lymington Town Sailing Club, of which he was a life member. He and others with motorboats acted as safety crew for the yachting events and races.

He was a longstanding member of the Small Bore Rifle Club at Lymington, winning many trophies and competitions. He was also a member of Burley Golf Club for many years.

Roy sold Pennington Cross Garage as a going concern and retired in 1983. He and Phyllis enjoyed many trips away in their motorhome both here and abroad.

Phyllis passed away in 2009 and Roy continued to live independently until he decided he should no longer be driving.

Roy had held an unblemished driving licence for over 70 years, never receiving a speeding ticket despite his love for performance cars such as Jaguars.

On his 90th birthday Roy treated himself to a new BMW. He drove for another three years then decided it was time for him to stop.

His smart appearance once led to him being mistaken as a ghostly 1950s figure when a young couple visiting the area asked him for directions and he seemingly disappeared into thin air.

After reading about a report of the encounter in the A&T, Roy was able to set the record straight – explaining that after helping the holidaymakers he had simply slipped through a partially hidden gate into his back garden.

He moved to Gracewell of Sway six years ago where he remained in good health and enjoyed regular walks around the area and taking part in the various events and activities arranged by the care home staff.

Judith said: “Although my father wasn’t a hugely religious man, he had very strong morals. He was always honest, always generous and always happy to step in and help others if he could. He was very family-orientated as well.”

Roy died peacefully on 9th September. He is survived by his daughters, grandchildren James, Rachel and Lucy, and great-grandchildren Eva, Freya, Archie, Flynn, Betsy and Leo.

A private family funeral has been held but those wishing to donate in Roy’s memory can give to Oakhaven c/o F W House and Son Funeral Directors, Lymington.

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