John Popham

Image thanks to Wikipedia

John Popham has died. His life has been cut short by cancer. 

He was a friend of mine, I would like to say a good friend and we shared many of the same values of social justice. He was an avid user of social media and a blogger. We would often comment on each other’s work as we covered many similar themes.

He was a tireless advocate and campaigner for the use of technology for social good, working with disenfranchised groups such as the elderly. He also campaigned, successfully, for free WiFi in hospitals.

I first met him at Durham County Council with James Saunby from Grey Sky Consulting, who had come to talk to us about our plans for Digital Durham, a successful campaign to provide broadband for the county. Apart from meeting him at random on a train to Manchester it was a long time until we met face to face again.

I was doing some work with the Tees Valley Combined Authority last year, again on broadband and wanted someone to live stream the industry engagement event. John came to mind and we spent a few hours together working on the project. Of course we didn’t know that this would be the last.

I follow John on Twitter and each week he would post two tweets that made me stop and think:

What are you going to do this week to make someone’s life better? #mondayresolution

What have you done this week that has made life better for someone? #fridayreflection

This will be my enduring memory of John. We are on this earth for a short time and it is up to us to choose whether we do good with our lot. I will think of him every week when I ask myself if I have made someone’s life better. He certainly improved mine.

I’m sorry this is just a blog but this is probably the best way for me to remember John Popham.

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