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RTE's larger-than-life broadcaster Derek Davis left £145,000 in his will

By Liam Collins

Published 11/07/2016

RTE broadcaster Derek Davis grew up in Co Down
RTE broadcaster Derek Davis grew up in Co Down
RTE broadcaster Derek Davis grew up in Co Down

The much-loved broadcaster Derek Davis, who died after a stroke in May of last year, has left nearly £145,000 in his will, which went to probate in Dublin last week.

The larger-than-life Co Down-born presenter - best remembered for his wonderful collaboration with Thelma Mansfield on RTE flagship daytime show Live At Three - had a long and varied career in broadcasting after joining the BBC in Belfast as a young trainee.

Among his broadcasting achievements was introducing US president Ronald Reagan at Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary in 1984 and twice hosting The Rose of Tralee.

He brought a sense of fun to his broadcasting work and treated his audience as if he was having a casual conversation with a close friend. It was a gift that gave him enduring popularity with viewers.

Among colleagues, he was best known as a bon vivant, who loved cooking, angling, sailing and convivial company.

It was reflected in some of the programmes he made.

In Davis At Large, he shared erudite reflections with viewers on fishing, food and wine, which, apart from his family, were among his great passions.

He also presented A Taste Of Ulster for the BBC and took part in Celebrity Bainisteoir, where viewers followed his fortunes as manager with Co Down GAA team Glassdrumman.

Davis was born in 1948 and grew up in Bangor.

He suffered a stroke and died the following day, May 13, 2015, at the age of 67 at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

He had suffered from obesity, and had gastric surgery in 2014 to lose five stones.

In tribute, RTE played the Johnny Cash song Folsom Prison Blues, which was his party piece at social occasions.

Always gregarious, he had a deeper side and had gone on The Marian Finucane Show before he died to talk about his battles with weight, which colleagues said was a constant struggle for much of his life.

However, he tended to be a 'joker' in Montrose and always maintained that he was grateful for the opportunity to get into broadcasting.

According to his will, which went to probate in Dublin last week, Frederick George Davis left an estate valued at €169,737 (£144,840).

He is survived by his wife Una and his three sons, Michael, Sean and Colm.

After his death, he was described by Mike Edgar, head of entertainment and events at BBC NI, as a "truly a larger-than-life character, a tremendously gifted all-round broadcaster, articulate and very humorous".

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