Tribute to community champion who launched Dayla drinks firm

Dick and Pat Cooper
Dick and Pat Cooper

Former magistrate and community stalwart Richard (Dick) Cooper OBE has died at the age of 88.

Mr Cooper, chairman of Dayla and James Pettit & Company was born in Lowestoft in 1925, the son of a fish auctioneer.

A Captain in the British Army during the War, he came into the family business of North & Randall Ltd in 1948.

He joined his father-in-law, Joseph Holland, a former Mayor of Aylesbury when they were mineral water manufacturers and the annual turnover was £24,000.

He then proceeded to expand the business and bought up many local manufacturers and in the 1950s launched and established a South African soft drink called Hubbly Bubbly.

With a co-operative of 32 bottlers across the UK, the drink was a runaway success.

In the 1970s he launched Dayla, a soft drink brand covering all types of minerals from carbonates and cordials to mixers, fruit juices, sodas and soft drinks on draught.

Again it was a huge success and together with three other family owned businesses the Dayla Group was established.

Dayla actually stands for: Dick’s AYLesbury Agency.

He was President of the British Soft Drinks Association and involved with many outside interests. He was a member of the Board of Visitors at Aylesbury Prison, chairman of Victim Support, and a Magistrate for 28 years ultimately becoming chairman of Bucks County Courts Committee when he reorganised the county structure alongside the Lord Chancellor.

He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE)for these services in 1996.

Equally he served as president of many Licensed Victuallers Associations and was well known as a great after dinner speaker. He was also a former chairman of Aylesbury Round Table, president of Aylesbury Rotary Club as well as the founder chairman of Aylesbury Probus.

After retiring in the mid 1990s, he stayed on as chairman of the Dayla Group and continued to give sound advice to the family.

His son Tim Cooper, MD of the business, now based in Aston Clinton, said: “His support, valuable advice, encouragement together with great integrity will be sorely missed.

“He was a great man who lived a full life but can be assured that his business will continue very much with his values at heart.”

His wife of 65 years Pat passed away last May.

He leaves a son, Tim, daughter Sue and four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

The funeral will be at St. Mary`s Parish Church, Wendover on Friday 31st January at 11am.