AN INFLUENTIAL figure in the global pig industry has died aged 77.

David Hollier joined the then-fledgling Pig Improvement Company (PIC), based at Fyfield Wick, near Abingdon, in the 1960s.

As the business expanded he travelled the world with PIC, becoming especially well-known in China.

David Arthur Hollier was born on February 5, 1942.

His parents, Horace and Molly Hollier, lived in Wolverhampton, but with the area's industries a target during the Second World War his mum moved to her parents' farm during the conflict.

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This was in the aptly-named Swinesherd, Worcestershire, ensuring David had an association with pigs from the early years of his life.

David attended the local primary and grammar schools in Wolverhampton, as did his older brother Fred and his younger sister Jean.

He then left the Black Country to study at Reading University, graduating with a degree in Agriculture and Food in 1964.

His association with Oxfordshire began during this period with regular visits to Oxford University, where his future brother in law, Michael Wykes, was a student.

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At university, Mr Hollier met many students who would remain friends and colleagues for much of his life, with many working with him at the PIC.

He joined the company, founded by five Oxfordshire farmers, in 1962 and was based at Peads Barnett Farm in Frilford Heath, near Abingdon, for many years.

As the business expanded, so did Mr Hollier's horizons - he was given the opportunity to travel the world and became a respected voice in the global pig industry.

His time at PIC left a legacy of pig producers from Europe to Australia, China to South America.

Mr Hollier had a passion for improving and increasing the lot of rural pig farmers world wide by using these practical pig production techniques.

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He also wrote several instruction manuals on the finer points of modern pig production, entertaining books which combined detailed practical information with amusing illustrations.

Mr Hollier later became an international business figure, developing his own firms in the USA and in Wuhan, China.

His standing in China was such that he was invited to meet Prime Minister Theresa May when she visited the country in 2018.

Away from his career, Mr Hollier never had children but spent many happy years with his wife Maria.

If his siblings ever wanted an unusual holiday, they knew where to go - Fred and Jean and their families would join David and Maria in Hong Kong, rural China, Wisconsin and up into Canada.

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Despite his lifestyle, Mr Hollier was a loyal brother who often returned to the UK for family events.

He was living in America when he died of a heart attack on March 15 and his funeral took place in Wisconsin one week later.

Mr Hollier’s love of travel will leave a lasting legacy, with sister Jean helping Reading University Alumni set up the David Hollier Memorial Fund to offer travel bursaries to agricultural undergraduate Students.

If you knew David or would like to contribute visit