Zac’s Personal Profile
Born at 1pm on 22 November 2000 in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Zac grew up in the small market town of Lydney on the west bank of the River Severn in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, for the first 20 years of his life.
He attended Lydney Church of England Primary School before going to secondary school at the local Whitecross School which transitioned into The Dean Academy whilst he was in Year 7.
Family and Background
In 1942, Charles George Box – Zac’s Great-Great-Grandfather – was awarded an OBE by King George VI in the King’s birthday honours list for his role as Chief Constable and Air Raid Precautions Controller for Great Yarmouth during the Second World War. He had also completed a stint as President of the Association of Chief Police Officers for England and Wales. Through his duties he hosted tens – if not hundreds – of engagements with senior politicians, members of the Royal Family and military leaders.
Below, Charles is seen in a car with Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (more commonly known as ‘Monty’ or ‘The Spartan General’), a senior military figure who served in both World Wars and the Irish War of Independence, as he waves to crowds. Charles was also a member of the United Grand Lodge of England, a Masonic institution which has been led by their current ‘Grand Master’ – HRH Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent – since 1967.
Zac’s Great-Grandfather, and Charles’ son-in-law, was born Reginald John Davidge but was known throughout his career by the stage name John Paul Joans. Reportedly, his original stage name was John Paul Jones – in a complete rip off of the Led Zeppelin bassist – but he was forced to differentiate the name after a lawsuit from the rock star. He was also known at various points as Reg Gray, J.P. Jones, John and City Lights and simply, John.
Reg was working as a chef in Halesworth, Suffolk when he won the final of the Granada TV talent show First Timers in October 1967 and the prize of a management contract with Harvey Lisberg, the manager of Herman’s Hermits, plus a contract to play in Blackpool. His prize was presented to him by Englebert Humperdink who Lisberg also managed.
In 1970, Reg released a Christmas single entitled ‘The Man from Nazareth‘ – accompanied by ‘B side’ track, ‘Got To Get Together Now‘ tackling the issue of the wealth gap between rich and poor – which was tipped to reach #1 in the UK Chart, under the name John Paul Jones. When it reached #40, the record was withdrawn from shelves so his name could be changed to Joans and it only reached #25 in the UK Chart but earned an opening performance on Top of the Pops just before Elton John on 14 January 1971. A notable detail of ‘The Man from Nazareth’ being that the music was co-written and performed by none other than English rock band 10CC (but not yet called that), it was the first recording the full line-up did together.
The single was produced by Strawberry Production and distributed by Columbia Records across the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands in 1970 followed by Australia in 1971. RAK distributed the record in New Zealand from 1971 and the US distribution, under the name J.P Jones, was managed by Cotillion the same year. Despite the name change, Jones and Joans sounded the same when spoken on the radio, which led to Reg’s often outlandish comments being attributed to the Led Zeppelin star – something that didn’t endear him to influential people in the music industry.
Reg’s next record The Miners’ Song was released in 1972 in support of striking miners under the name John and City Lights but it apparently fell afoul of the BBC for being “political” along with Paul McCartney and Wings’ Give Ireland Back to the Irish.
The seven-week miners strike was the first since 1926 and at the time miners were amongst the lowest paid workers in Britain. Power cuts, a state of emergency and a three-day week were imposed by the Heath government. Reg and Lisberg must have parted ways by now because in a striking act of solidarity or a clever publicity stunt; the BBC in turn was banned from playing the record by his manager and owner of the master Maureen Prest.
Alongside his career as a vocalist, Reg enjoyed a career as a stand up comic tackling taboo issues – for the time – such as war, the IRA, racism and sex. Between these releases, Reg also made a memorable appearance in a 1971 Granada TV documentary called There Was This Fella… about club comedians in which he is introduced by Bernard Manning simply as ‘John’. His style of comedy is very different to his contemporaries and Manning warns the audience “he’s a bit way out…” John’s intensity comes across like an early prototype of the politically-aware comedians yet to come from the Comic Strip.
It’s claimed that Bob Monkhouse OBE – entertainer and host of such TV programmes as Golden Shot, Celebrity Squares, Family Fortunes and Wipeout – once described Davidge as Britain’s answer to Lenny Bruce.
Little is known of what happened to him but Tim Prest, who is presumably connected to Maureen Prest, has said: “he went to Ireland to help the peace movement, Betty Williams had asked for artists to perform, he had a strong social conscience wanting to help, he was knocked down by a hit and run driver, he almost lost his life, he sustained many many injuries, that was the end of his career.” He passed away in 2011.
Reg’s wife, Zac’s Great Grandmother and Charles’ daughter, Joyce Adelaide Grey followed her husband into the spotlight both as a vocalist and as a showgirl at some of Blackpool’s most high profile hotels and theatres. She was also, at times, a copywriter for a top publishing house. Alongside her sister, Nanette Bradfield Box, the duo became prominent and unrelenting activists for the rights of travellers in the UK – supporting Reg and Addy’s daughter, a new age traveller and Zac’s Grandmother.
**The family and background section is currently incomplete and is under construction. Please check back soon.**
7 Years and 3 Months of Service to T.S Royal Forest
Zac joined T.S Royal Forest (Unit 586) Forest of Dean Sea Cadets, in July 2010 and rose to the rank of Able Cadet being awarded the Commodore’s Broad Pennant as a Junior Cadet and 3 Good Conduct Stripes as a Senior. Throughout his 7 years and 3 months of service as part of the unit he took part in upwards of 9 parades across Gloucestershire, 5 rowing competitions, 5 drill and piping competitions and countless community and charitable events.
In the last few years of his time with the unit Zac took a leading role in representing his fellow cadets on the committee of the Unit Management Team, the first cadet to do so, as well as Coxswaining crews of cadets regularly whilst rowing including at competitions. He also had the honour of heading up the unit as the Bearer of the Unit’s Ceremonial Colour at Drill Competitions, Royal British Legion events, Remembrance Parades and Remembrance assemblies at local schools.
Alongside his participation in a huge variety of events, Zac undertook training in a range of areas including First Aid, Seamanship, Navigation, Meteorology, Rowing, Drill, Ceremonial and Rifle Drill, Adventure Training, Health and Safety and Personal Development.
He was also one of the first cadets in the unit to be awarded the BTEC Level 1 (SCQF Level 4) in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship in Youth Organisations (Uniformed) qualification.
In 2017, Zac led the overall creative development and scripting of the unit’s evolution, a physical presentation of different skills, as part of the Royal Naval Parade and Unit Inspection. The unit continued its streak, being awarded another Burgee – the highest award available.
Secondary and Further Education
Launching in to the Labour Party
Zac joined the Labour Party in May 2017, just after the local elections and in the run up to the snap General Election. In a rural constituency where a lack of jobs and opportunities force a lot of young people to move away, the Forest of Dean Labour Party was equally occupied by older people.
Immediately upon joining, Zac attended his first meeting of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) that same evening and he was already approached about taking over the role of Executive Officer (Youth) from the present inhabitant of the office.
Zac swiftly became one of the more active members of the local party, ultimately holding numerous officer posts at multiple levels. Within a few months he was already Youth Officer, Campaign Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator for Lydney and Tidenham Branch. Within a year, he was also Youth Officer, Campaign Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator for the Forest of Dean Constituency. In these roles he oversaw numerous local by-election campaigns.
In January 2018, Zac was involved in organising a demonstration outside Labour-led Cinderford Town Council after they supported the closure of the Forest of Dean’s two community hospitals – against the local party membership and in breach of national party policy. The Councillors submitted mass complaints against Zac and he was suspended from the party pending investigation in April 2018.
After being reinstated to the party in August 2018, Zac resumed his officer roles and, as CLP Campaign Coordinator, began leading the party’s preparation for the 2019 Local Elections with overall responsibility for the campaigns of 24 candidates. He took a lead role in drafting the party’s election manifesto, developing the headline policy commitments and proofing all candidate literature.
In March 2019, Zac was selected as a candidate for Lydney East in the May Lydney Town Council and Forest of Dean District Council elections resulting in him being on the ballot paper of the first two elections he was eligible to vote in.
Zac went on to win a seat on Lydney Town Council, becoming a founding member of the Labour Group, with 384 votes – the most of the three Labour candidates running in the ward. He missed out on his bid for a seat on Forest of Dean District Council for the same ward, gaining 273 votes (19.5% of the vote) and coming 5th out of 11 candidates for 3 seats.
He later resigned from the Labour Party the day after the 2019 General Election, citing the party’s shift to a second referendum position and its undemocratic decision making as contributing factors to his resignation.
Community and Cause Activism
Let’s make something together.