Farewell to an ‘immensely nice, wise and influential’ gentleman

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Sir Nigel Broomfield passed away on 29 October. He had been receiving treatment for an aggressive form of cancer.

Sir Nigel continued to play an active part in public life in Jersey until days before his death, writing to this newspaper in late October to express his deep-seated concerns about the location of a new general hospital – a subject which he wrote about on several occasions.

Sir Nigel offered his thoughts for publication in the JEP on a diverse range of subjects over many years, from the need for greater environmental awareness and action on sustainable energy generation to electoral reform and education.

A graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, Sir Nigel spent a decade in the armed forces before entering the diplomatic service for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Between 1988 and 1990, he was Ambassador to East Germany and was in post to witness the immediate aftermath of the Berlin Wall coming down. He went on to become the Ambassador to Germany between 1993 and 1997. Sir Nigel was also an accomplished sportsman and was crowned British amateur squash champion in 1958/59. He represented England at the sport between 1957 and 1960.

Friend and fellow hospital campaigner Bruce Willing paid tribute to a remarkable man.

He said: ‘I first met Sir Nigel when we joined Freddie Cohen’s development group discussing an Environment strategy for Jersey.

‘I was immediately impressed by Sir Nigel’s courtesy, sagacity and presence. Everything he said and did was measured and made absolute sense.

‘During that time it became clear that his background was in international diplomacy, which added so much to our deliberations.’

He added: ‘Earlier this year he asked me to join a group of people discussing what could be done to put right the ongoing discussions on the location of Jersey’s new hospital, and later he asked me to take over the chairmanship of the group due to his illness.

‘At no stage, until four weeks ago, did he mention that his illness was terminal. Jersey has lost an immensely nice, wise and influential person. I give thanks for Sir Nigel’s life, for his kindness and his huge contribution to Jersey through his advice given freely over many years.’

Former Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache said: ‘After his retirement from a very distinguished career in the diplomatic service, Sir Nigel brought to his adopted home a passionate interest in Jersey and her affairs.

‘He gave invaluable advice in relation to Brexit but also used his expertise to counsel those deeply concerned about the hospital project. Only days before his death he was planning further interventions. He will be greatly missed.’

The JEP offers its condolences to Lady Broomfield and her family.

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