Lord Joel Joffe

26th October 2017

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Lord Joel Joffe

Lord Joel Joffe

Last night I had the privilege of attending a memorial event for Lord Joffe – or Joel as everyone knew him.

I knew of Joel and his connections with many Swindon organisations of course way before I met him. His patronship of Swindon 105.5, involvement and interest in the Harbour Project and Swindon City of Sanctuary to name but a few. But it was only relatively recently that I had the pleasure of meeting him. He took an interest in this here blog and signed up to follow it – which thrilled me to death of course! Always the lawyer – chatting with Joel felt ever so slightly like an interrogation.

Last night’s event, co-ordinated by his friend Carole Bent, constituted a wonderful opportunity for representatives of community organisations and businesses to pay fitting tribute to him.

Held n the UTC central atrium this was a splendid affair, in a super splendid building, in a splendid town honouring the most splendid of men. This man who had saved Nelson Mandela from execution was the biggest champion for and advocate of Swindon.

arriving at UTC

This article in the New Internationalist, remembering Lord Joel Joffe gives you more story about him and his charitable endeavours.

There’s no finer tribute to Joel than this film from Swindon’s Create Studios. He tells his story in his words and pays tribute to the Swindon people who worked for him.

My favourite bit? I‘m paraphrasing slightly:  ‘Everything is good about Swindon. But I sometimes don’t think the people of Swindon realise how good it is. I want everyone to be proud of Swindon and say ‘hey – this is a good place, we’re proud to be from Swindon.’

He’s right. Everything IS good about Swindon. And I can’t begin to convey the frustration I feel when I hear people knocking the place.

This is one of Joel’s favourite quotes from Václav Havel, the Czech writer and dissident:

Václav Havel quote

In particular the last sentence: ‘There is only one thing that I will not concede and that is that might be meaningless to strive in a good cause.’

Thank goodness for the Václavs and the Joels of this world. And thank goodness too for the groups and individuals in this town that continue to strive for good causes.

It was a delight to know you Joel – albeit briefly.  From one Born again Swindonian to another: RIP.

See too: The Hoarusib Elephant  – a surreal day indeed! 

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