My name is Andy Devey, I was born in 1956 in a West Yorkshire Mining village as the first son of Ron Devey [a mining surveyor] and my late mother Mary Devey [a seamstress]. I was educated at Hemsworth Grammar/High School followed by Doncaster College of Technology via the NCB. I attained a Mining Surveyors certificate in 1978. I initially worked in the UK Coal Industry in 1974 through a Mining Surveying Apprenticeship and as a Mining Surveyor until 1980. I completed my education to Chartered Mining Engineer status in 1985. I moved into Colliery Management in 1985 and I was a Colliery General Manager from 1993 to 1997.
I Joined the Insurance Industry in 1998; initially I was recruited as a Mining Expert and subsequently trained as a Special Risks Surveyor and as a Liability Claims Specialist my final role. I have also acquired many personal and technical skills through my numerous hobbies [obsessions] these have run parallel to my working career.
I have consistently been a fanatical weight trainer since 1968, I was the UK all comers Arm Wrestling Champion in 1978/9. I was a competitive natural bodybuilder from 1977 to 1981. Through this, I developed discipline, goal setting and the determination to succeed in everything that I commit to!
I enjoy model making and model engineering. I won International Gold Medal and the Excide and Drydex cup [for the best battery powered model of the whole show] at the 1992 International Model Engineering exhibition with a 1:12 scale all-steel model tank. I later bought and restored a WW2 Russian T34 Tank in 1993. These skills help with my continuing astronomical projects.
Here is a photo of my award winning 1:12 scale model tank it was also a licensed firearm between 1985 and its deactivation in October 2011.
Here is a photo of my T34 tank
I am also an author/military historian and an artist. I was first was published in 1999 on the Jagdtiger tank destroyer [this two-volume tomb is the definitive work on this subject [published by Schiffer Military History – Atglen PA, USA]. Incidentally this was the same year that I was clouded out at the UK Total Solar Eclipse at a Cornwall location!
I wrote and self-published Target Focused Weight Training in 2002, followed by Target Focused Lifestyles Improvements in 2004. These books mainly cover the mental focus to achieve your personal goals.
I have enjoyed a lifelong passion for Astronomy. I visited my late cousin Tina Devey, an Astro Physicist at Keele University in 2002. This visit included a trip, hosted by Professor Tim Nailor around the campus observatory. I was introduced to a hydrogen-alpha view of the Sun, after that I was well and truly hooked! Sadly, Tina died in June 2004, I often think of her and she remains my inspiration into more serious astronomical pursuits.
I started buying telescopes in 2004 just prior to the transit of Venus in June. I started to specialise in Solar Astronomy after the purchase of a Coronado PST in January 2005. I have since made daily records of solar activity -clouds permitting.
I became a member of the Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society and also the British Astronomical Association in 2005. My equipment inventory keeps accumulating!
In November 2009, my article was published in Astronomy Now magazine. Since March 2010, I have had solar photos featured by NASA on their Spaceweather.com site and also in the BAA Journal. More recently one of my solar photographs featured on the front cover of the British Astronomical Association Year Book for 2011.
In August 2011 I retired from the Insurance Industry on my 55th birthday. The plan was to find a suitable place in a more southern climate to set up an observatory. We initially stayed in rented accommodation in the small village of El Fonte near Sorbas and fully integrated into the local Spanish community.
We bought our new home in October 2013. I and my friend Robin built the first observatory in February 2014.
This is me and my little pal Alfie - the smile says it all.
I started my outreach activities in October 2013 in the Spanish language with a talk to the towns folk of Uleila Del Campo and then at the Instituto de Sorbas [secondary school] in February 2014.
I am married to Judy, we enjoy life together and have three grown up children and one grand child Oliver Thomas born March 2014.
Andy Devey - April 2011 [revised August 2014].