Povey was born in Warrington in 1936 and was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester and Liverpool Universities. He qualified in 1961 and held house appointments in Stockport. Povey was a medical missionary from 1962 to 1966 and was medical superintendent in Zimbabwe. He returned to Manchester as registrar in paediatrics and took the DPH in 1968. Povey was assistant MOH in Warrington before being appointed assistant senior medical officer in Manchester and later in Liverpool. He was area medical officer for Manchester from 1974 to 1982 and was honorary lecturer in community medicine at the University. Povey was later honorary consultant in public health to Wigan and Bolton Health Authority.
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