Obituary: James Mayes

image copyrightPA
image captionJames Mayes returned from holiday the night before the attack

He was a son to make any parent proud. James Mayes was a popular 28-year-old with a high-flying job as an analyst at the Healthcare Commission - now the Care Quality Commission - which strives to improve the NHS.

On a normal morning he would not have been on the Piccadilly Line train, where he lost his life, but on 7 July 2005 he was on his way to a seminar in Holborn.

His parents, Rosemary and Bernard, and sister Rachel, described him as a "devoted son" and "loving brother", an "intelligent, sincere and outgoing person who always put other people before himself".

Mr Mayes, who lived with a friend in Barnsbury, north London, had just returned from holiday the evening before the attack, and friends searched hospitals for information after he went missing.

Friend Rohen Kapur said Mr Mayes enjoyed life to the full.

"James was the lovable, unpunctual, irritating, wonderful man that I miss terribly. The world is all the poorer for his passing."


With a politics degree from Warwick University, a year in the civil service and several temping jobs under his belt, Mr Mayes was appointed as a trainee analyst by the Healthcare Commission in 2002.

He was subsequently promoted to analyst and had a great career ahead of him.

In a statement read out at the inquest five years after his death, his parents and sister said: "One of the greatest and most tragic ironies of the manner of his death was that he believed passionately in human rights and freedom of expression and belief".

He was the type of man who liked to "engage in ardent debate with anyone who cared to join in over a few drinks" and would be remembered for his "love and humour, his many moral dilemmas, his compassion and, perhaps most of all, his opposition to injustice and cruelty", it said.

The inquest heard how in his address at Mr Mayes's memorial service, Sir Ian Kennedy, the then chairman of the Healthcare Commission, referred to how he "liked to help others to understand the complexity of his team's work and his brilliance at finding ways of explaining it".

Sir Kennedy also talked about "James's readiness to challenge what he saw as pointless activity", the statement said, and it was to the credit of the commission that "they took note and changed the approach when this was appropriate".


It went on to say that the abiding memories of Mr Mayes - for his colleagues, friends and family - "were of James the man".

"Sometimes other-worldly and deeply impractical, enthusiastic, sometimes gloomy, but interested in many things, charming and often very funny - in all, a man of many gifts who would have a special place in the memories of many people for as long as they live."

His parents said the loss continued to be "inexpressibly painful and, in a very real sense, beyond comprehension" but it was important for "something positive to come from the pointless loss of a promising young life".

They said two awards had been established in his memory.

The first, sponsored by the Care Quality Commission, is for research into the use of information in improving healthcare.

The second, sponsored jointly by his family and the Open University, is an annual award given to the student who does the best project on the "Islam in the West" course.

Mr Mayes's memorial service was held on 27 July at the Church of St John the Evangelist in Friern Barnet, north London, the area where he grew up.

There were several readings from his favourite books, including the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Lord of the Rings.