ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS
UNITED KINGDOM SECTION
AEJ UK EVENTS
Raymond Whitaker writes:
Announcing his father’s death on 29 June 2018, the journalist Sam Kiley said Dennis had enjoyed a “full and outrageous life”. Indeed – just how outrageous is clear from Dennis’s privately published autobiography, The Guns of the White Father, which relates with relish his numerous careers, loves and adventures, extracting the blackest of humour from the direst of circumstances.
Born near Cape Town in 1933, Dennis soon showed the independence of spirit that later rendered him immune from the collective madness, called apartheid, that infected his fellow South African whites. Though an English speaker, he insisted on being educated in Afrikaans. This stood him in good stead as he evaded the political and moral restrictions of Afrikaner nationalism, which he described as “looming over the land, grim, joyless, interfering, righteous, the great Calvinist monster”.
A picaresque progress around South Africa, including stints as a travelling salesman and gold miner, as well as a couple of marriages, eventually took Dennis into journalism. Working for the Golden City Post, a paper aimed at all the “non-white” communities – black, Asian and mixed-race “Coloured” – enabled him to move between worlds in a country that was becoming increasingly segregated.
“A tabloid weekly paper is a lively place,” Dennis wrote. “We covered mass murderers, sexual deviants, blackmailers, kidnappers and sometimes a combination.” Despite growing government oppression, he mixed with (and chose his lovers from) fellow free-thinkers of all races, from jazz musicians and gangsters to those fighting apartheid, openly or clandestinely. He met Chief Albert Luthuli, one of the founders of the ANC, which now rules South Africa. The chief was under house arrest in rural Zululand, so Dennis visited him every week to take down his thoughts for a weekly column.
Later he recalled: “We wrote: ‘We do not want to drive you back into the sea where you came from, and we do not want to marry your sisters. All we ask for ourselves is a fair share in the land of our birth.’ That was in the citation when he won the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Dennis was doing an increasing amount of work for foreign newspapers and broadcasters in Britain, Canada and the US. This got him into trouble when he reported for a London newspaper on the mistreatment of black prisoners in the notorious Modder B jail. The white government had imposed a near-total ban on coverage of such matters, and he was the first person convicted under the newly-passed Prisons Act. The result was to make it virtually impossible to operate as a journalist in South Africa, and he took up the invitation to become the understudy to his best friend, television journalist George Clay, in Nairobi.
“I had never enjoyed being anywhere as much as I enjoyed living in Kenya,” Dennis wrote later. It was a country that “lifted me up and stared into my face”. It was where he met and married Martha Worthington, an expert in animal behaviour, and where Sam was born. It was also from Nairobi that he embarked on the most dangerous and exciting episode of his life – covering the bloodshed in Congo, which became independent in 1960 and was almost immediately plunged into civil war, with the United Nations sending in troops to prevent the mineral-rich province of Katanga seceding.
The war, which attracted riff-raff from every continent to fight as mercenaries, more than satisfied Dennis’s taste for the eccentric and the bizarre, furnishing him with a lifetime of anecdotes. There was, for example, the English head doctor at a rural hospital who turned out to have no medical qualifications at all, while the title for his book came from a priest of the White Fathers order, who shot crocodiles to earn money for his mission.
At times it seemed that Dennis was reporting on the Congo disaster for most of the English-speaking world, constantly risking his life but earning more than enough to repay his friend George, who had helped to set him up with a loan, a Land Rover and TV equipment. Martha, as fearless as he was, joined him in Katanga. But their appetite for adventure was abruptly stilled when George was killed by a stray bullet in the conflict. Dennis even gave up journalism for a time, preferring to sell cars in Nairobi. When journalism eventually reclaimed him, it was in a different country and a different style.
Arriving in Britain with his family (though his marriage
to Martha did not last), Dennis the hell-for-leather reporter became Dennis
the journalistic entrepreneur. At the Financial
Times he headed the syndication department, selling the newspaper’s copy
to governments, businesses and other news outlets around the world, an
enterprise in which I served for some years as his deputy. Later he ran an
expanding and profitable newsletters empire under the FT name, hiring many
people who went on to prominence in the profession.
Post-retirement, Dennis somehow succeeded in securing an allotment in the middle of Hampstead, surrounded by some of the most expensive property on earth. Nearby was his favourite pub, the Holly Bush, where family, friends and former colleagues gathered in their brightest clothing on 13 July to remember him. It was the best way to celebrate probably the most convivial man we are ever likely to meet.
AEJ events director David Lennon writes:
Dennis made a big impression on everyone who met him and I certainly remember the best piece of management advice ever, which I received from Dennis when I took over from him in FT Syndication:
"Tell your staff that any promises or commitments you make in the pub after 8 pm regarding their salaries, promotions or other benefits are non-binding."
For me this encapsulates the practical nature of Dennis. He was always direct to the point, except when retelling one of his dramatic African adventures. Years later I also remember his questions at the Association of European Journalists luncheons where he would like to preface his questions to our guest speaker with a pertinent anecdote or two to disguise the sharp edge of his question. He was also a terrific raconteur at the pub post-mortem which followed the lunches in those days. It was an honour and a privilege to have worked with him.
It is with enormous sadness that the AEJ UK learnt of the death of Roger Broad last Aug. 17 2017 from complications following heart surgery. Roger was a founder member of the British section of the AEJ in 1968 while he was the European Commission's press officer in London. He was believed to have been the oldest surviving active member of the AEJ UK and a witty, wise, loyal and active member of the section who will be hugely missed by all who knew him as a wonderful colleague and friend. Please see this story of his career from former professional colleague Michael Berendt. Former AEJ UK secretary Kevin d’Arcy notes that Roger was "one of our nicest, most positive and valuable members" who "reappeared soon after I became the section secretary. This was extremely lucky for us, as the contacts he had developed in Brussels, Strasbourg and Whitehall proved essential to raising support for the AEJ generally, but especially for the annual congress which I had offered to organise in London in 1992. Luckily, we managed to form an organising committee with a impressive flex of muscle, including Roger, the younger Paul Hodgson (then our chairman) and Gerry Mansell, former director of the BBC World Service. Roger, thank goodness, agreed to become our section’s first treasurer, thus removing the care of cash away from my function of spending it. Roger said afterwards that this was probably not only the biggest, but also the first ever congress not to show a loss… Which showed just how valuable he was."
For a look at Roger’s own remembrances of the birth of the AEJ UK please see here. In 2016 he released his latest book "Volunteers and Pressed Men", an account of how Britain raised its forces in the 20th century's two world wars, an account that questioned the extent to which Britain really "stood alone" - given the millions of soldiers throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth who fought both voluntarily and under conscription. For more details see here. And for his own advice on how to get published here.
David Lennon writes:
Celia Hampton, our stalwart anchor in the AEJ UK Section for so many years, died on May 17 after a protracted battle with the pulmonary illness which had dogged so much of her life in recent years. Her funeral took place in London on May 31.
Celia was forthright and scrupulously honest both as a journalist and as a most valuable member of the AEJ. She wrote widely on competition, financial and legal issues for many publications over a long and distinguished journalistic career.
Celia has been a very dear friend and colleague to many of us for a long time. She was always modest about her achievements but was extremely knowledgeable about legal matters, and continued to write regularly for Competition Law Insight despite her increasing frailty and ill health.
She did an enormous amount for the AEJ, as the UK Section’s Secretary and Treasurer for many years, and the founding, indefatigable editor of the Section’s website.
Whenever the Section needed someone to hold the fort, it was Celia who agreed to help. In 1999 Celia stepped in to be Acting Chairman and in 2001 agreed to be Treasurer for several years. She took on the key role of Secretary between 2006 and 2010, when she handed that baton over to Margaret Hughes.
It was also in 2001 that she devised and launched the section’s own website www.aej-uk.org and she continued to develop and look after our website for the next 15 years, determinedly posting material with wonderful efficiency and consciensciousness right to the end.
She will be hugely missed by all her friends. William Horsley, Chairman of the Section, says that Celia combined her unique wry humour with great resourcefulness and moral integrity which won her many friends and admirers. She also had a great many friends around Europe in other AEJ sections, and helped the association to navigate through every squall that it has confronted, including the tortuous process of revising the international AEJ’s Statutes several years ago.
Celia's family have selected the following charities for donations:
We have a picture of Celia on the AEJ International website, courtesy of former AEJ secretary Kevin d’Arcy.
Peter Kramer, former AEJ
Secretary General (2004-12), writes from Brussels:
Celia’s son Adam Hampton provided
this resumé of his mother’s career:
She never took to being a barrister like her ex-husband, Paul, did and started doing other jobs. These ranged from marking surveyors' exams to editing the solicitor's journal and the journal for the Legal Executives.
In the 1970s she met and started working for Adolf “Andy” Hermann, the FT legal editor, as well as editing the International Comparative Law quarterly and a Business Law newsletter for the British Institute of Comparative Law.
Through the 1980s she continued working for the British Institute and also started editing an FT newsletter called the Business Law Brief which turned into Business Law Europe in the early 1990s.
Also in the early 1990s when the Berlin wall came down she launched a companion newsletter called the Eastern Europe Business Law Brief.
She was one of the first editors to both edit and typeset her publications for FT Newsletters and her innovation meant she was able to charge for both jobs when she started using a computer to do the typesetting. Amongst her peers this was very rare.
When FT newsletters was closed down by Pearson in the late 1990s she looked into other innovations and with Peter Thompson tried to bring resources together for those involved in business law. After this project she teamed up with a database expert and launched PublicInfo, an innovative way of searching cases and legal resources without the need to employ enormous teams of people to do the job.
She went back into journalism and in 2002 she launched and edited Competition Law Insight, a journal dedicated to Competition Law, and was still contributing articles this year.
Please read Adam’s eulogy
at the funeral service.
I knew Celia for something like 30 years. At one level, I knew a lot about her. She was clever and could articulate her views very clearly, using an extremely wide (and sometimes delightfully archaic) vocabulary. She was a great teacher. When I started editing CLI and ignorant about many things in the competition law world, Celia would explain them in readily understandable terms without ever talking down to me. She was excellent company. And I realise from talking to other people that she had a wonderful knack of keeping her friends over decades.
When discussing ideas, concepts or news developments, she was often passionate but always rational. Certain things, though, really got under her skin. Condescending lawyers and self-regarding graduates of the older universities were a particular bugbear. New computers with idiosyncratic features were another, although something in her rather liked the challenge of conquering them. And then there were the sympathetic expressions (usually prefaced by the immortal phrase “Gee Whizz”) of shared annoyance over the minor inconveniences of life.
My strongest memory of Celia is of drinking coffee with her in the early morning outside a café in Strasbourg next to the city’s medieval red-stone cathedral. She was dressed mainly in black with a coloured scarf round her neck, smoking the inevitable cigarette – a roll-up, from memory – and holding forth in strong but civilised terms about some iniquity in that morning’s news. There was something timelessly rive gauche about the whole thing. You just needed a bunch of bohemian intellectuals to come round the corner and complete the picture.
Friends and colleagues write:
AEJ Secretary Kevin d’Arcy recalls Celia as one of the world’s
most excellent but also most reticent of journalists.
Kate Clifton, Managing
Editor of Informa Law, publishers of CLI: