Michael Davenport 1940-2015
In tomorrow’s Times there will be the announcement that he died peacefully on 30 November with wife and daughter by his side and the cat at his feet. A noble man who bore his Motor Neurone Disease with dignity and wit. Funeral at All Saints Putney Common, 17 December 12.30.
But for many in Festing he was much more than that -he was a good friend and loyal neighbour. He has lived with his wife the author Katie Campbell and theatre producer daughter Jessica in the large double house 53/55 for over twenty years.
Michael was first and foremost extremely bright. Graduating from his Catholic boarding school aged seventeen to Edinburgh University . He quickly switched from French and Philosophy to Economics where he achieved fame and some fortune. He taught at universities in York, Singapore, Montreal,Philadelphia and Bologna. Such was his success and reputation that throughout his long and varied career he never had to apply for a job.
Academia gave way to a senior post in H.M Treasury and from there he was seconded to Brussels. His basic liberalism, with and without a Capital letter, led him to fight two parliamentary elections for Jeremy Thorpe’s party in the 1970s.
A stint the City was followed by consultancies and an involvement in economic aid, policy and delivery, for a variety of international bodies including the OECD and EU.
But Michael was more than a much published and respected economist. His interest and second home in Corsica led him to become an expert in James Boswell’s period on the island. He also wrote a book about Rosso Fiorentino. More proof that his interests were anything but dry, for many years he created a crossword for The Erotic Review.
He was intensely involved in the Chain of Hope which provides refuge for families from the developing world who come to the UK for serious surgery. He was also a trustee of the Bridge of Hope which provides educational support .
In the nine years I have known him , Michael, Ron Corbett and I travelled the South East including Margate, Hastings ,Chichester and Cambridge in search of culture and above all a good lunch. His catch phrase “un tout petit peu”. He joined in trips to the horse races and was one of the band of brothers at my Trafalgar Day breakfasts.
Until his tragic illness which he fought with his usual indifference to the slings and arrows of normal life he was a great walker and it was only in the last weeks of his four year illness that he struggled to make it to either the Spencer or the Half Moon.