Imperial College London

Mr Raymond M. Ayres (Mechanical Engineering MSc 1969)

Provided by Mrs Claire Ayres

Dr Raymond Maurice Ayres, Scientist, aeronautical software engineer and bell founder has died aged 62. A distinguished mechanical engineer, Dr Ayres was a graduate of Nottingham University (1967) and Imperial College London (1969) before joining Rolls Royce to begin his early engineering training working on the first three shaft Aero-engines of the RB211 family. 

In 1971 Dr Ayres took up a Ministry of Defense sponsored research fellowship at Leicester University using computer techniques to simulate the complex aerodynamic behaviour of the parachute, his work gained him a PhD and international recognition.
In 1978 he became a Director of Eayre & Smith, Bellhangers and Engineers.
He married his wife Claire in 1979, and in the same year he joined Systems Designers Ltd. to work on the specifications for the UK Air Defence Ground Environment Systems. He carried out specification and system evaluation on a variety of military systems, including Electronic Warfare Aircraft pods jammers and simulators.

His work was not only confined to the UK Military as his work on Home Office projects, including the computerised police Command and Control Systems, demonstrates.
In 1987 Systems Designers Ltd. merged with SCICON PLC a business traditionally specialising in Air Defence applications mainly for the UK Ministry of Defence.
Through his vision the company diversified to include Project Management, system analysis, feasibility and interoperability studies to Government, major defence contractors, and the telecommunications and oil industries.

In 1990 he became joint owner with Hilde Bartlett of the Silicon Valley Group PLC (SVG).  An ambitious business plan saw the company expand into a leading edge Software House servicing the Defence, Civil Aviation and Information Technology industries.
A series of projects associated with the Eurofighter landing gear control and fuel systems for both Lucas and Dunlop were conducted, from which developed a particular expertise in logistics support with systems, that were designed for purpose and engineering for life.

The company prior to its partial sale in 2006 employed 250 people with a turnover of £16million.

On top of his achievements in the military software field Dr. Ayres supplementary career involved bell hanging where he became involved in the design, manufacturing and innovation of bell frames and bell fittings, developing an interest in the computational modelling of bell profiles and harmonics. He became the Managing Director of John Taylor Bell Foundry, following the merger between Eayre & Smith and John Taylors in 2005.

Many of the bells that were produced under Dr Ayres ever watchful and expert eye, ring out in cities as diverse as Honolulu, Australia, New York, and London.
In 2006 Dr Ayres and his wife became lessees of Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire, a National Trust property which had belonged to the Massingberd family.  His great Aunt had been the nursery nurse at Gunby Hall many years beforehand and so he had become interested in the Hall and its history.  He later re-hung the bells in Gunby Church and added two bells in honour of his parents.

Dr. Ray Maurice Ayres CEng.

Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (C.Eng M.I. Mech. E), Member of the British Institute of Management (M.B.I.M.), Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (M.A.I.A.A.). Freeman of the City of Leicester, Patron of Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire and Bell founder.

Born 25.08.1945 Leicestershire. Died 04.06.2008

He is survived by his wife Claire.

Press office

Press Office
Communications and Public Affairs

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Email: press.office@imperial.ac.uk