John Davis, 1934-2021
We are very sad to announce that John Davis, our treasurer from 2001 to 2007, died last month. Our condolences go to his widow, Linda, and his children, Arthur, Emily, and Irene, and their families.
John grew up in Kent and went on to study Maths and Chemistry at Oxford. In 1962 he became a missionary teacher with USPG in Malawi – this is where Linda and John’s children, Arthur, Emily and Irene were born.
In 1979 the family moved back to England and joined Willen Priory living alongside the religious community. John was the bursar to the community, and, in 2001 became treasurer to Christian Ecology Link (now Green Christian).
John based his life on compassion for the poor. He lived very simply and did his best to own nothing in this world (other than a pen knife, a magnifier, and a few books – which were quite important to him!). Although very principled, and largely a vegan in recent years, John followed the Benedictine rule that states that one should accept hospitality with grace, and always ate heartily at family gatherings, with great appreciation. One of his overriding principles in life was to share what he had if someone else was in need. This often led to the family sharing their home with others that needed somewhere to stay, and a natural generosity with money to individuals or groups for various causes.
In 1999 John took up environmental campaigning mainly with Christian Ecology Link (now Green Christian). Even after his diagnosis with Parkinson’s in 2005 he continued to campaign, including joining the Climate Camp direct action against the building of Heathrow’s third runway. With Ruth Jarman, he peacefully took part in the mass civil disobedience, entering and occupying a secure area, before shaking hands with the police officers on his way out. He was a gentleman activist.
From 2006 John and Linda moved to Ely where he was active in local wildlife groups. Following a move to Soham in 2014, John helped start an ecology group. Even when very ill, his suggestion to the garden club at Millbrook House resulted in a small wildflower meadow which is now full of snowdrops and emerging primulas.
John’s huge compassion for the natural world, and for the suffering of people under increasing climate change caused him much sorrow and thoughtfulness in his last years, and formed the basis of his prayers for his family and their futures. His thoughtfulness for the environment lives on in all three children: in Arthur, an environmental consultant in agriculture and a keen climber, Emily, a landscape architect who loves grassy bogs and meadows; and Irene an environmental activist with Extinction Rebellion, and keen allotment grower.
‘A quiet, gentle person who lived his faith, may he rest in peace.’ Ashley Ralston
‘Having followed him as Treasurer of Green Christian, I have been very grateful for (and slightly in awe of) his meticulous record keeping. Some of the systems he established I still have in use after many years.’ Eleanor Orr
‘John was such a lovely gentle man, yet so determined. We used to worry going through London on the underground with him not being very steady on his feet. But he just kept on going. I shall always remember him with great affection.’ Barbara Echlin
‘John was a kind and courageous man. I will never forget traipsing across a bean field with him as part of a civil disobedient action against the Heathrow expansion in 2007. He was subsequently concerned for the farmer and, unable to find out who owned the field, gave a donation to a farmers’ charity. I suppose this is but one example of the breadth of his compassion – for the world under threat of climate change, as well as individuals who he will never meet.’ Ruth Jarman
May he rest in peace.
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