It is with great sadness and a huge sense of disbelief that I write this article – when I heard about James’ death yesterday the shock was overwhelming and it still has not sunk in today.
He died on Friday, aged just 28, after a tragic incident linked with his epilepsy. He had just returned from a trip to the US, which he described on Facebook as "one of the best trips of my life".
James joined CRN as a rookie reporter in November 2004 after a brief period on the VNU central news team, and assumed charge of the storage section of the magazine – taking over the section from then-editor Sara Driscoll. He was also tasked with covering general news stories as and when they arose.
I was assigned as his line manager, and it was a great privilege to be able to help shape him into the great journalist he became.
He was a joy to work with from start to finish. He listened to advice and acted upon it, treated all his contacts with the greatest respect and was highly respected in the channel.
James quickly made the section his own. In fact, he came in for a lot of ribbing from the rest of the team about what a storage geek he turned into – eventually leaving the title to work for storage and networking distributor Zycko in Cirencester. Much to my disgust!
James’ two-plus years at CRN were full of noise and laughter – he had a great sense of humour, although the rest of the team used to groan when we engaged in one of our regular "pun-offs" – mainly about fishing. Some of James’ (Or Jimma’s, as I knew him) puns were shockingly awful. Sorry Jimma, but they truly were.
It was also in those two years that CRN’s love affair with the Hoff was born – James being one of the original line-up in THAT now legendary Hoff picture. (L-R Sara Yirrell, James, The Hoff, Trevor Treharne, Scott Snowden). It was a night to remember and I will never forget James snapping pictures of the Hoff like a pro and being remarkably chuffed with the results.
Unfortunately, it was during his time at CRN that his epilepsy reared its ugly head, but none of us ever thought it would end up claiming his life so tragically.
There is a lot more I could say – but as I was also drumming into James constantly – less is more.
His parents Sue and John asked me to say how proud they are of him and all his achievements.
And that is how I will end: in total agreement.
Proud to have worked with him, proud to have known him, and proud to be able to call him a friend.
Rest in peace, James. You will be sadly and very much missed by all your CRN family.
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