This week: a trade unionist, a former archbishop and a winner of the Nobel prize for physics

THE politician Lord Davies of Coity, who has died aged 83, was a Labour Co-operative peer who as Garfield Davies was general secretary of the shopworkers' union Usdaw.

He joined Usdaw's staff as an area organiser in 1969, was appointed a national officer in 1978 and elected general secretary in 1985.

He was awarded the CBE in 1996 for services to industrial relations and entered the Lords in 1997.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw's general secretary, described Lord Davies as an energetic and enthusiastic trade union leader who steered Usdaw through some difficult times. "He was a great Labour man and played a key role in modernising the party and securing a landslide victory in 1997 after 18 long years of opposition," he said. "Garfield always put our members at the forefront of everything he did and he took that into the House of Lords where he robustly defended workers' rights. We shall miss Garfield, he was a great servant of Usdaw, the Labour Party and the wider movement."

THE former Archbishop of York John Habgood, who has died aged 91, was archbishop and second in the Church of England hierarchy for 12 years until 1995; he was also one of the most outspoken and effective ecclesiastical figures of his age.

Lord Habgood was a key exponent of Christian faith and morals in a secular age.

With his scientific background, he regarded many of the stories on which Christian doctrines are based as being true allegorically rather than literally.

As a scientist he had difficulty in asserting the literal truth of supernatural events said to have occurred long ago, in times even more credulous than today.

And his sensitive handling of the situation created by the ordination of women - in which he believed - won him the admiration, even of former critics.

The current Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said of his predecessor: "His towering presence, physical, intellectual, and spiritual, was a gift to all who knew him. As a hugely distinguished scientist, theologian and philosopher, Archbishop Habgood's faith in Christ gave him a particular perspective and a persuasive witness both to church and nation for his time. His many books simplified big and complex questions, revealing an incredibly perceptive intellect."

THE scientitst Zhores Alferov, who has died aged 88, was a Russian physicist and Nobel Prize laureate.

Mr Alferov shared the Nobel Physics Prize in 2000 for developments in semiconductor research that have been used in satellite communications and mobile telephones.

At the time of the prize, he was director of the AF Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St Petersburg.

He later became chairman of the Russian Academy of Science's nanotechnology committee.

In the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, he was a member of the Communist Party faction and served on the committee for Eurasian integration and Commonwealth of Independent States affairs.

His death was announced by the State Duma, where Mr Alferov had been a deputy since 1995. News reports said he died of cardiopulmonary failure.