Family of Gareth Jones raise money for lifeboat charity in his memory

Posted On 19 Jan 2021 at 10:52 pm

The family of a man from Hove who was swept out to sea have raised hundreds of pounds for two charities – the RNLI and Amnesty International – in a matter of hours.

Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones, 69, a much-loved and widely respected academic, author and business leader, died trying to save his dog, Connie the cockapoo, on Saturday (16 January).

His family said: “Gareth was a much-loved husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend.

“His kindness, intelligence, irreverent sense of humour, love of life and passion for politics touched so many people.

“Tragically he passed away in an accident on Saturday 16 January 2021, taken by the sea in Hove trying to rescue his beloved cockapoo, Connie.

“He lived an extraordinary life filled with love, laughter, football and fun while also enjoying immense academic and professional success.”

The family set up a page on the Much Loved website, adding: “The outpouring of love and grief for him has been astounding and we wanted to create a place where everyone could go to share memories of a life wonderfully and fully lived.”

To leave a memory or a donation, click here.

He was a familiar and popular figure in the Watchmaker’s Arms, Hove’s first micro pub, just yards from Hove station – and close to his home.

The team at the Watchmaker’s said that they were “devastated” when the search for Gareth was halted and his family “received the worst possible news”.

But, the Watchmaker’s said: “They thank everyone for the love and support they have received over the last couple of days and asked us to post this, following the huge amount of messages we received regarding his welfare.”

His wife, Shirley Neal, told the BBC: “Hundreds of people turned out to help us at night on Saturday on the beach and at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning.

“People of every age, every background that you can imagine, which was typical of Gareth, and all friends, neighbours, people who knew him.”

Connie the cockapoo

She said that she really appreciated the support and the efforts of the coastguard and RNLI lifeboat crews from Brighton and Shoreham who scoured the sea from the water and the air.

Dr Jones’s daughter Gemma told the BBC: “He was extremely well loved, not just by us but by all of the community.”

His son Robbie said: “He was my best friend but he was my Dad. He had that wisdom.”

And his other daughter Rhian said: “He was a truly special man.

“We can all just aspire to be more like Gareth – more like Dad – and just do everything in life that he would have done.

“Look at challenges in the way that Dad would have done and turn things that aren’t positive into positives and never say no to anything.”

Gareth Jones

On the Much Loved website he was described as “a truly kind, clever and humble man” and another contributor said: “Gareth made us happy whenever we met him – we will miss his smiling face and boundless enthusiasm.”

Dr Jones was the author, with his colleague Rob Goffee, of the influential book Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?

He started his career as an academic in economic and social studies at the University of East Anglia before moving to the London Business School, where he joined the Organisational Behaviour Group.

From there he joined Polygram, then the world’s biggest record company. He was the senior vice president for global human resources and responsibilities covered more than 30 countries.

In 1996 he went back to academia when he became the BT Professor of Organisational Development at Henley Management College where he also served on the board of governors.

And he became the director of human resources and internal communications at the BBC as well as a visiting professor at INSEAD, in France, and the IE Business School in Madrid.

His family added: “Thank you to everyone that has donated. We really appreciate money for these causes.

“Polite reminder that your memories and pictures are just as, if not more, valuable to us so please contribute and share.

“The messages we have received over the last few days show that there are many people whose lives were touched by Gareth and we would love to hear your stories.”

To leave a memory or a donation, click here.

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