Roy Howell, managing director of Maygay Machines – the second-largest UK AWP machines manufacturer of the early 2000s, died yesterday aged 68.
In the mid-1970s, Howell joined Maygay Machines, which was founded by his father Peter in 1968. Maygay Machines was then bought by European Leisure in 1988, however Howell took back control in 1997 when he led a buyout team to repurchase the business from European Leisure after gaining support from venture capital company 3i. In 2000, 3i sold its shares in Maygay to Leisure Link for £18.5m, and the company was later to disappear after Leisure Link sold the Maygay brands to Barcrest. Howell left the company in 2002, however his successful career in the amusements industry continued.
In 2003, Howell founded Games Media with Steve Murray, but it wasn’t long before the company caught the eye of Scientific Games, who bought it out in 2006.
“Roy was a hard working, hard living character who rarely did things by half,” recalls Murray. “Ubiquitous at trade associations and exhibitions, I fondly referred to him as the ‘Entertainments Director’. A keen shot and fly fisherman, Roy lived the life of a country squire. He will be remembered as being larger than life and living it to the full.”
Despite the sale of Games Media, Howell couldn’t keep away from the industry, with the serial entrepreneur starting a new games design business in partnership with ex-Maygay Lloyd Butler, named Live 5 Gaming. He also took an active role in the industry trade association, Bacta, with Howell taking on the responsibility of its manufacturers’ division – currently chaired by an old friend of his, Dean Harding.
“I am absolutely gutted that ‘the Boss’ has gone,” concludes Harding. “I worked with him for 12 years and he has been my friend and mentor for over 30 years, and I loved every minute of it. I was supposed to meet him for lunch last week when he was taken ill. I cannot believe it.”
He leaves a wife, Sue, who he married in 1978, and two children, Katie and Nicholas, who are both married with children.