Obituary: Roy Daniel

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The Independent Online
Roland Frederick Leroy Daniel, lecturer, chartered surveyor and administrator, born Newport 26 February 1922, married 1943 Eleanor Murphy, died Liverpool 1 October 1992.

FOR OVER 30 years Roy Daniel organised pilgrimages to Lourdes, and was highly regarded within the Roman Catholic Church in England.

Daniel's early life was unusual. He was brought up in the town of Cardigan by a father who was a staunch Anglican and a mother, of French origin, who completely devoted her life to the family and the Roman Catholic faith. For a time she and her son were the only adherents of Catholicism in a very Welsh Nonconformist town. Today there is a thriving Catholic community in Cardigan and that community is indebted to Roy and his mother.

Roy Daniel trained as a chartered surveyor and worked locally until he volunteered for the Royal Engineers, serving during the Second World War in France, Germany and the Benelux countries. Demobbed in 1946 he moved to Liverpool - the home of his wife Lena, whom he had met in his role as organiser of Liverpool evacuees in Cardigan. They had married in 1943 in Ireland. On Merseyside he became a surveyor with the Bootle Corporation and later with the Liverpool Corporation before being appointed as a lecturer at the College of Building. He was one of the team that brought forth the new Liverpool Polytechnic which is today the Liverpool John Moores University. Within the polytechnic he became principal lecturer in the Department of Building and Construction. From his research for an M Sc degree he published his useful and highly recommended book on The Maintenance of Religious Buildings.

But outside the world of higher education Roy Daniel was a true archdiocesan stalwart. His complete devotion, like his mother's, culminated in his receiving the Papal Knighthood of St Gregory - the highest award bestowed by the Vatican on a layman. It was presented by Archbishop Derek Worlock in 1988 to Daniel for his work as Chairman for the Cathedral Deanery and for his efficient organisation of the annual Lourdes pilgrimage for over three decades. His pilgrimages ran into three figures as he made five trips a year dealing with the Shrewsbury, Welsh, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham dioceses. Daniel ensured that all these pilgrimages went without a hitch and his command of French, as fluent as his English and Welsh, was an obvious asset.

On his retirement from academic life he involved himself with the Pierhead Housing Association, becoming its Chairman, and he gave unstinting support to social and charitable organisations including the Catenian Society where he attained high office. He also carried on his deeds of kindness, making sure that his fellow parishioners in Childwall could attend the services. If one could calculate the miles he spent giving people lifts it would equal three times around the globe, according to one priest who knew him well.

Outgoing, charming, individual, knowledgeable and active, Roy Daniel has left a huge gap. To say he will be missed in Roman Catholic circles is an understatement.

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