Trevor baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio, dies aged 80 uk news the guardian west la college location

Trevor baylis, the creator of the wind-up radio that helped millions in the developing world to access life-saving information, has died aged 80.

The inventor, who was awarded a CBE in 2014 for services to intellectual property, died of natural causes on monday morning, having been ill for some time.

Baylis, from twickenham in south-west london, was regarded as one of britain’s greatest living inventors. He was best known for his baygen clockwork radio, which he began work on in 1991 while watching a documentary about aids in africa that highlighted the value of educational radio programmes in tackling the spread of HIV.

“before the show was over I was into my studio and I managed to get a bark of sound out of an instrument and that was, if you like, my eureka moment,” he recalled.Wind-up radio

A first working prototype of the radio ran for 14 minutes and, after baylis appeared with it in 1994 on tomorrow’s world on BBC one, it was put into mass production in cape town, south africa, by a company that employed disabled workers to manufacture it.

In recent years baylis complained of financial difficulties after revealing he had received little of the profits from sales of the device, and he urged the government to introduce stronger legal protection for inventors.

However, his instinct to innovate did not leave him and in 2003 he told the guardian that ideas still came to him out of the blue. “if you can solve a problem then you are well on your way to being an inventor,” he said.

Other inventions included his electric shoes, which he demonstrated in 2001 while completing a 100-mile (160km) walk across the namib desert in southern africa to raise money for the mines advisory group charity.Wind-up radio

Born in may 1937 in kilburn, north-west london, baylis’s first job was in a soil mechanics laboratory in southall where a day-release arrangement enabled him to study mechanical and structural engineering at a technical college.

At the age of 15 he swam for great britain, and he later spent time as a stuntman, as well as working in sales. An edition of people of today 2017 credits him with a stint as an “underwater escape artist” in berlin.

The international HIV/AIDS alliance, which supports community groups in countries that were most affected by the crisis, said it hoped baylis’s legacy would inspire other inventors to develop creative solutions to strengthen the response to HIV.

“trevor’s radio invention was inspired by an urgent need to provide accurate information about HIV at a critical point in the epidemic when many people did not have access to information,” said shaun mellors, of the charity.Wind-up radio

Others shared personal stories, including russell conway, who recalled seeing one of baylis’s radios in action in a small shack in a village in malawi while on a bird-watching expedition.

“about 30 of the locals were listening intently to a football match. Communication is important and he will have saved lives. So true that nobody wants to be the richest person in the graveyard,” he tweeted.

Stephen kelly, chief executive of the software company sage, described baylis as “a man that exemplified true grit and determination to successfully produce the wind-up radio despite initial rejection”.