Trevor Baylis OBE
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Trevor was born in 1937 in Kilburn, London, and was brought up in Southall where an education disrupted by the war led to failure at the 11+ exam. At the age of 15 Trevor was swimming for Great Britain and then found his first job at a Soil Mechanics Laboratory in Southall where part-time day release enabled him to study mechanical and structural engineering at the local technical college.
At 20 years of age he began his National Service as a physical training instructor, during which time he swam for the Army and Imperial Services. Upon leaving the army in 1961, Trevor joined Purley Pools as a salesman where his role progressed to take in research and development. Because Trevor was a swimmer he was soon asked to demonstrate swimming in the pools which led to becoming a professional swimmer, stunt man and entertainer. This led to starting his own aquatic display company using a large, glass sided tank in which he dived from great heights and swam underwater demonstrating equipment. This company was called Shotline Displays. As a consequence of performing in a Berlin Circus as an underwater escape artiste, sufficient monies were made for the formation of a new company, Shotline Steel Swimming Pools which is still flourishing, and over 280 learner swimming pools are installed in schools today.
Through Trevor's activities as a stunt man and having many friends who were no longer performing due to injury, Trevor felt that stunt players and the disabled are kinfolk. He therefore, had no problem in becoming involved with the handicapped. In 1985 Trevor invented and developed a range of products for the disabled called Orange Aids.
In 1991, Trevor's gift for invention came into its own. Having seen a programme about the spread of AIDS in Africa, he set about developing the Wind Up Radio. His first working prototype ran for 14 minutes and in 1994 was featured on the highly rated Tomorrow's World TV programme. The product's potential was immediately recognised by corporate finance expert Christopher Staines and South African entrepreneur Rory Stear who acquired funding and the following year set up BayGen Power Industries in Cape Town employing disabled workers to manufacture the Freeplay Wind Up Radio.
The BBC programme QED filmed an award winning documentary about Trevor's development of the radio and in June 1996 the Freeplay radio was awarded the BBC Design Award for Best Product and Best Design. The year 1996 also saw Trevor meet Her Majesty The Queen and Nelson Mandela at a state banquet; journey to Africa with the Dutch Television Service for a programme documenting his life and take part in the BBC's update of the QED programme "The Clockwork Radio", broadcast in September 1996.
In 1997, the new generation Freeplay radio rolled off the production line in South Africa. Smaller and lighter than the original model, the new radio has been designed especially for the Western consumer market and runs for up to an hour after only 20 seconds winding. This radio has now been updated to include a solar panel and will run without assistance whilst the sun shines. Also in 1997, Trevor took part in a Sky TV programme "Beyond 2000" featuring his inventions.
He has been awarded the Presidential Gold Medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and addressed the Conference of Commonwealth Ministers in Botswana for the British Council where he demonstrated the use of the radio to power up a computer for the first time. He was an occasional presenter on The Big Breakfast TV programme called 'From Me Shed Son' which featured inventors and their inventions with Johnny Vaughan.
In October 1997, Trevor was awarded the OBE by The Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace, where he was also surprised by Michael Aspel and whisked off to be featured in an edition of "This Is Your Life".
In May 1998, Trevor went on a tour of African States lecturing for the British Council and was very well received in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Singapore, Malta and Crete. Following this success the British Council then arranged a tour of Australia, Cyprus, Slovenia and India and in 2000, tours to Palestine, Israel and Bahrain.
In June, 2001 he completed a 100 mile walk in searing temperatures across the Namibian Desert to raise money for the Mines Advisory Group whilst demonstrating his new invention, the Electric Shoes.
Trevor has made over 100 TV and radio interviews and appearances in the UK, and has also been in demand for TV shows in countries such as Japan, Holland, and U.S.A.
Areas of Expertise
Trevor is popular as an "After Dinner Speaker", and has worked with clients as diverse as Anderson Consulting, Sun Life, Pfizer, The Law Society, The Royal Institution, Microsoft, Unilever, and RS Components. He also participated in an Oxford Union Debate with the chief government scientist; Sir Robert May addressed The Oxford Union in 2002. He regularly lectures at Universities and Colleges, and this, together with appearances on many Satellite TV channels as well as the BBC, ITN and News World have made him into a well-known face.
Trevor appeared in a Mercury 'One to One' advert which was very well received and continues his tireless work to promote the concept of 'personal power', together with his campaign to establish the Trevor Baylis Foundation to help all inventors. His biography entitled "Clock This" has been on the bestseller list.
He has been presenter and judge on the popular BBC programme "Best Inventions"- viewing figures were 4 million.
Two of his inventions are mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records: one is the "most successful clockwork radio", and the other "the most energy efficient shoe."
Cultural and Social Honours and Awards
. Appeared in the year 2000/2002 Guinness Book of Records
. Awarded 'Oldie of the Year Award 2000' - 'The Oldie' magazines tribute to the 'Wind-up Merchant of the Year' by Terry Wogan
. Elected Pipe Smoker of the Year 1999
Participation in National Award Schemes
. Presented the Gold Standard Awards on behalf of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh for His Highness' Award Scheme at St James' Palace 1999
Awards, Honours and Memberships
. Order of the British Empire
. Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa) The Nottingham Trent University
. Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa), Southampton Institute
. Doctor of the Open University 2001 (Honorary)
. Doctor of Middlesex University 2002 (Honorary)
. Master of Science, Teeside University
. Master of Science, University of East Anglia
. Master of Brunel University (Honoris Causa)
. Master of Business Administration, University of Luton
. Visiting Professor, University of Buckinghamshire
. Fellowship Award, The University of Wales Institute (Honorary)
. Fellow University of Wolverhampton (Honorary)
. Research Fellowship from the School of Journalism at Cardiff University (Honorary)
Professional Organisations - Awards
. Awarded Presidential Gold Medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for services to Engineering in 1998
Professional Organisation Honorary Membership
. Honorary Member of the Confederation of British Industry
Charitable Organisation Awards and Memberships
. The Paul Harris Fellowship - Rotary Club
. Vice President of Techknowlogy - a registered charity that provides computer equipment and technical training to developing countries
. Patron of Spelthorne Farm Project for the Handicapped
. Vice President - European Women of Achievement Awards
Industry and Commerce- Awards
. The Walpole Medal of Excellence 2001
. Export Times Exporter of the Year award for Outstanding Export Achievement