Trevor Baylis has died at the age of 80. Trevor was a long time Twickenham resident, well known around the town but also recognised internationally as an inventor. He had been ill for some time.
Born in Kilburn in 1937 Trevor was something of a legend, a man who knew many people and who accomplished many things. A former competitive swimmer, swimming pool salesman, stuntman and escape artist, he is of course best know for his inventions. His early focus was on products to help people with disabilities but his most notable success was the wind-up radio. He first developed the idea in 1991 after having seen a television programme about the spread of AIDS in Africa. By 1996, with investors backing him, the Freeplay radio began to take off winning design awards along the way and being updated to include a solar panel. This seemingly simple idea had a huge impact in helping communities without access to regular power supplies. Nelson Mandela was a fan and the radio was especially successful in South Africa. Trevor was awarded an OBE in 1997.
Trevor continued to work on new inventions as well as using his company, Trevor Baylis Brands, to help other inventors bring their ideas to market. In 2015 Trevor was awarded a CBE for his services to supporting and protecting the intellectual property rights of inventors.
He lived on Eel Pie Island and could often be seen around Twickenham either posing in his E-type Jaguar or ambling by the river with his dog. He had many friends in the area and often lent his support to local events and causes. The newly housed Eel Pie Island Museum on Richmond Road has a space dedicated to his life and inventions. Trevor attended the opening just a few days before he died.
Although he had no family, he will be greatly missed by all those who knew him well and remembered widely for his inventions and his fascinating life.