Tributes paid to Norfolk businessman

A TRIBUTE has today been paid to a Norfolk businessman who died in a plane crash.

A TRIBUTE has today been paid to a Norfolk businessman who died in a plane crash.

Ian Davies died yesterday after the light aircraft he was in was involved in a collision with an agricultural vehicle at the Seething airfield in South Norfolk.

Mr Davies, 49, worked as director of group business development for Archant, which publishes The Evening Star.

He had worked for the group for 19 years and was responsible for the development of corporate activity and mergers and acquisitions.

He was a member of the corporate executive team and was also a director of Archant Regional, Archant Life, Archant Specialist and Archant Dialogue.

Archant chief executive, John Fry, said: “Everyone at Archant is extremely saddened to hear of the tragic accident involving Ian yesterday. He was a keen amateur pilot with a real passion for all aspects of flying. His sudden death has been felt by us all.

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“Our thoughts are with his family and in particular his wife Colette and children Francesca and Josh.

“Ian has been with the company for nearly 20 years and over that time has contributed to the development of the business into magazines, radio and digital activity.”

Mr Davies has worked for various parts of the Archant operation since 1989 and had previously held roles including business development manager, group strategist, company secretary and MD of Enterprise Radio.

Prior to joining Archant, Mr Davies worked as a journalist, radio presenter and producer and television news reader.

He was currently working on a development project with divisional managing directors to grow Archant's online audience.

He was a very experienced light aircraft display pilot and part-owned a de Havilland Chipmunk airplane which he flew out of Seething Airfield.

Mr Davies had been consulting editor for Archant Specialist's Pilot magazine for three years and was instrumental in Archant acquiring the title eight years ago.

He was a Formation Display Pilot with the Red Sparrows team and a Class Rating Instructor. He was therefore qualified to teach pilots to fly light aircraft. He had 3,000 hours as a pilot and was also a qualified helicopter pilot.

Archant Specialist MD, Jonathan Hustler, said: "I have worked with Ian since the early 90s and he has made a huge contribution to our progress.

“In particular he was a key architect of our strategy to develop a magazine business alongside the newspapers.

“He has served on our magazine boards since their inception and there was many a time when his clever strategic thinking gave us an edge over competitors.

“Ian was a great enthusiast and connected his passion for flying with his work for Archant when he led the acquisition of Pilot Magazine in 1999.

“Since then he has played a key part in that title's development as the market-leading title in the country. He rarely missed an air show or the launch of a new plane and his immeasurable contribution will be acutely missed.”

Following the tragic accident, a second 51-year-old man is being treated at the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital and is in a critical condition with serious injuries.

The matter has now been passed to the Air Accident Investigation Branch by police who will carry out a full investigation into the cause.

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