A FORMER business champion in Warrington has died peacefully aged 91.

Brian Sayers built up Europe's largest independent fire research company in Warrington and helped establish the town as an important centre in fire safety and reliability.

His funeral will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, in Southport.

Originally from Manchester, Brian, who died on December 17, began working in the aviation industry in Preston, in the 1950s focusing on safety and reliability of aircraft.

He then worked for the Atomic Energy Authority based at Sellafield. He was the last person to make final checks within several reactors before they were put into operation.

In the early 1960s Brian was based at Risley, with a brief in nuclear safety.

During the mid 1960s an idea in developing a business in fire safety began to germinate which ultimately resulted in a million pound business.

Underneath an old railway arch opposite Central Station Brian set up Warrington Research Company (later renamed Warrington Fire Research Company) with two friends, Selwyn London as fire officer and Fred Williams as accountant.

Brian, who was married to Sheila until her death in 1987, was the expert in safety and reliability but as they started to grow and expand, it was soon apparent that bigger premises were required and a site on Holmesfield Road was acquired in the early 1970s.

This site had the capacity to set up the expansive equipment needed to test items such as aerosols, wallpaper, toys, doors, windows and even ship bulkheads to ensure that they met stringent fire safety standards.

The company not only tested materials extensively in the UK but also Europe and the world, particularly the Asian market.

Warrington Research Centre also provided consultancy and expertise in fire outbreak investigation, fire prevention, protection and reliability of control systems. Brian retired from the nuclear industry in 1981 to become the chief executive officer of the growing business which was also concerned with bringing together experts throughout the world in fire safety and reliability.

Brian was an entertaining speaker and lectured widely throughout Europe and North America. He was known for being informative with a wry sense of humour.

Anneka Rice visited in 1984 to make a short film on fire safety and in 1985 the Chinese government placed their fledgling experts in fire safety at the centre for a number of months where they gained valuable experience and insights into testing materials and assessing reliability of safety systems.

Unfortunately, Brian’s wife’s health was progressively deteriorating and he began a retirement process which led to the sale of his life’s work in a management buyout in 1987.

Brian and Sheila had one son and three daughters, 20 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. The family gathered around Brian during his final hours as he died peacefully at home.

Brian’s funeral will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Preston New Road, Southport, tomorrow Wednesday at 10am followed by Interment at Liverpool Road Cemetery. Family flowers only by request but the family are gratefully receiving donations to Alzheimer's Society or British Heart Foundation.