We are hugely saddened to learn of the untimely death of our friend and colleague, Jeff Haskins. Jeff has masterminded the Trust’s communications from our beginnings, and if you have read about us in the media, it is thanks to Jeff.
For over eight years, he was dedicated to our work and passionate about supporting it, using his creative talent and intellectual curiosity to find ways to interest the world. This same energy meant he was wonderful company, always interesting to talk to and fun to be with.
Our work threw us into many unusual and exotic settings. A memory I will cherish is of the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Jeff spent the day single-handedly shepherding a large and undisciplined herd of experienced film crews and journalists from the world’s most celebrated media outlets. Dressed only in jeans, as the Arctic winds howled around us Jeff became progressively numb with cold but never stopped working or smiling – always able to see the funny side of our situation however high the stakes or grim the conditions.
The next day, after a suitably good party, we left Longyearbyen on snowmobiles and headed 80km into the white wilderness to truly ‘get away from it’. After one of the most gruelling days of his working life at the mouth of the Vault tunnel, the contrast with the silent Arctic vastness should have been extraordinary. Yet it didn’t quite work out that way for Jeff! Cursing the miracle of mobile telephony, but ever the professional, Jeff would call a halt to our procession every time his phone rang, so that he could organise yet another interview from the saddle of his skidoo, surrounded by mile after mile of snow and ice.
Jeff was only 32. Throwing himself into everything – whether music, African agriculture, sport, crop diversity, politics, or his many and varied friendships – Jeff was a tireless advocate for the Trust and a real friend. Our thoughts now are with his wife and family, whom he loved so much.
Director of Development & Communications