Tribute to John Payne

Monday, 30 September 2013

John Payne image

Oxford Brookes has received the sad news that alumnus and distinguished engineer John Payne has died.

John Payne’s impact on the University was such that in 2010 the John Payne Building on our Headington Campus was officially named in his honour. He was also awarded an Honorary Master’s Degree in Engineering during the ceremony.  

John was the designer of the first wall-mounted patient lifting device and a later mobile design sold all over the world. He worked with a doctor at Headington Hill Hall, which was a military hospital at the time, and is now part of Oxford Brookes.

John chose the name Oxford Hoist due to the region’s rich tradition of medical research and it became known as the world standard in patient handling products following its design in the 1950s.

He enjoyed a highly successful engineering career and commercial success at the helm of his own company FJ Payne and Son which was initially based in Oxford, later moving to Eynsham.

John had deep connections with Oxford Brookes and was the University’s longest-standing benefactor. He graduated in 1939 with a certificate in Mechanical Engineering from the Schools of Technology, Art and Commerce, at the time when John Henry Brookes was principal.

Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of John, who was a great friend and supporter of the University. His ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit and belief in making a real difference are values which we aspire to as a University. 

“It was a tremendous honour to recognise John’s achievements and support by naming one of our buildings after him. I know that students working in building’s technology lab and architectural workshops will continue with his legacy for innovation and design excellence. 

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.” 

June Girvin, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “John was a fantastic supporter of Oxford Brookes and will be greatly missed. His work made a very real contribution in shaping how patient care is delivered, both in Oxfordshire and much further afield. John’s application of engineering into health care was significant and helped to make a real difference.”