Dennis Foy, 1953-2008

February 7, 2008

A world-leading expert on automotive technology, a prolific author and a part-time journalist has died.

Dennis Foy, senior lecturer in media at the University of Wolverhampton, died on 10 January aged 54, after suffering a heart attack in November that led to further health complications.

Mr Foy came to academia late after a career in journalism that saw him travel the world as a motoring specialist and racing reporter. In his forties, he studied creative writing part-time at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating with an MA in 2001. He joined Wolverhampton as a lecturer in 2002.

His second career, which he pursued alongside his work as a journalist and author, was starting to take off before his death, and he had been made co-ordinator of Wolverhampton's broadcast journalism course shortly before he fell ill.

Paul Brighton, principal media lecturer at the university, said his former colleague's enduring passion for cars had seen him travel the world and rub shoulders with some of the key players in the glamorous world of motor sport.

"As a motoring journalist, he covered racing at a range of levels including Formula 2, and regularly interviewed key personalities including Nigel Mansell and Bernie Ecclestone.

"He was a globetrotter in that line of work, and he had an enduring fascination with the whole world of racing and the design side - he even had lots of model cars on his desk.

"He was always test-driving the latest high-performance cars, but ironically he commuted from his home in Manchester to Wolverhampton by train every day," Mr Brighton said.

As a lecturer, Mr Foy was popular with students and fellow staff alike. Mr Brighton said: "He really was very good with the students. He had a very engaging manner, he was never patronising and he was always patient.

"Nothing was ever too much trouble, which students picked up on very quickly. He had just been upgraded to a full-time position and was really getting into his new role as a subject co-ordinator when he had the heart attack. He will be missed by us all."

Mr Foy taught creative and professional writing, print and broadcast journalism, public relations and digital media. His research areas included copyright in the digital age.

His journalism career included spells editing Hot Car magazine, Performance Ford and the Automotive Telematics Bulletin, as well as the Daily Express World Cars Guide.

Mr Foy leaves a wife and two sons.

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