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RoSPA chief executive dies

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has announced the death of John Howard OBE, its chief executive since January 2004.

Howard, joined the Society 20 years ago from industry as director of Home and Leisure Safety. He later became responsible for road safety as well, and then in 1992 for all areas of RoSPA's campaigning, including safety at work.

He was responsible for promoting change in a wide cross-section of fields, from the need for fire-safe furniture and factory-fitted plugs on electrical goods to the latest law banning the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving. He helped to establish RoSPA as one of the world's leading safety organisations.

The trustees and staff of the society sais they were united in their grief at the sudden death at the weekend after a brief illness.

The trustees have appointed Errol Taylor, the business development director, as acting chief executive to carry on the good work which Howard had led so ably.

Howard was born in Lancashire on August 23 1947. He moved to Birmingham at the age of three and attended Hallfield Preparatory School in the city. He subsequently attended Rossall public school in Lancashire.

He joined Cadbury Schweppes and studied for business qualifications including company secretary. He also worked at Imperial Foods.

For many years he was involved with the St Basil's night shelter in Birmingham which provides accommodation for homeless people.

He was also active in St Mary's Church, Handsworth where he was once a keen bell ringer. He also enjoyed skiing and sailing.

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