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The word ‘gentleman’ is often applied to individuals we have lost but I can think of no better tribute to the wonderful, professional, kind and generous individual that was Tim Jackson.

Modern motor industry PR reflects little of what Tim stood for, concerned primarily with delivering a message whereas Tim always sought to be an individual with intense moral rectitude, warm and sincere humanity as well as a desire to seek to discover the nature and heart of every individual he encountered. He was always smartly turned out and never accepted that phrase 'smart casual' . . . , in Tim’s lexicon there was smart or there was casual!

I first came across Tim in his journalistic role with the Worksop Guardian – a welcoming and high-spirited motoring journalist in the halcyon days on the late 1970s. His bear-like figure loomed large over any and every gathering and his sense of humour, delicious love of a practical joke and an over-riding commitment to excellent writing and communication made him shine out in a period when there were many ‘wannabes’ and part-timers who seldom matched his energy and enthusiasm.

He persuaded me to leave the North and move South to join Renault just as the brand was making major waves with exciting product underlined with enormous presence in motorsport that Tim worked tirelessly to develop. He single-handedly made the Renault 5 Turbo Cup, Formula Renault, and then the Clio Cup and Renault BTCC entry, a mainstay of British motorsport – something that was later properly recognised by his role with the governing body. His love for high-octane motorsport led him to help so many talented individuals develop their careers in the sport and he also worked behind the scenes to maximise Renault’s involvement with the then all-conquering Williams F1 team – Mansell, Hill and Coulthard all benefitted individually and professionally from Tim’s unstinting support.

It was an intense pleasure to sit in his office with one of the Williams’ British pedallers discussing the current season and the potential of the latest product from the minds of Frank and his vital sidekick, Patrick Head. By that time Tim had quit smoking due to his diabetes so I benefitted for a massive supply of Camel cigarettes!

But most of all Tim was just such a pro. He used all of his personal charisma to entice me to move to the deep dark south but thereafter he taught me an inordinate amount about maintaining a balance between the demands of the company and the needs of the media. He tore me off more than one strip! But it was justified in every instance and I never made the same mistake twice. His guidance, friendship and attitude ensured that when I eventually left Renault I had the best grounding in the business I could have wished for.

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Above: A youthful James May collects his award for Renault UK/Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year 2000 from then Renault UK public relations manager and later Friend of the Guild Tim Jackson.

When he married Ann, none of those who knew him were surprised! He had quietly but effectively sought her attention and even developed an affection for Preston North End FC to make sure his courtship delivered on his ambitions! And what a pair they made - with two wonderful children – Tim Junior and Helen – and a happy life away from the business with a lot of it spent cruising on their canal boa. Tim and Ann carved their own channel and lived the life they desired.

Tim was a true friend, a wonderful mentor and a magnificent professional. There are very few of his ilk stalking the corridors of the motor industry these days. The industry is poorer for it but those of us who knew him, spent time with him and worked with him are very much the richer for that experience.

So many of us will miss him but will be enlivened for having shared this world with him.

Stephen Kitson
Friend of the Guild

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