UK

Obituary: Helen Jones

  • 17 December 2010
  • From the section UK
Helen Jones
Helen Jones - brilliant student and popular friend

The eulogy by her close friend, the Reverend David Thom, summed up the strength of Helen Jones.

He told mourners at Laigh Kirk in Paisley, Scotland, that Ms Jones, 28, was very supportive after he witnessed a child dying in an accident.

He had questioned whether he would be able to carry out such a funeral.

"She said to me: 'In tragedy, it is never God's will. God's is the first heart to break and God is the first to shed a tear.'

"We rejoice she is now safe."

Helen grew up in Templand and left Lockerbie Academy with straight As in all her Higher exams.

She was such a brilliant scholar that she began studying divinity at Aberdeen University, aged just 16. She went on to achieve a first-class honours degree.

After this, she took a gap year with the Glasgow City Mission, working with drug addicts, prostitutes and the homeless. During the year, she also went to the US city of Denver to work for a sister organisation on an exchange.

She felt called to the Church of Scotland ministry, but feeling she wanted some "real life" experience before seeking selection, she trained as a chartered accountant in 1998 with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Glasgow.

There, she was known as "Sherlock Jones" due to her ability to sniff out accountancy errors.

In 2002, she moved to London and took up work in the strategic and commercial intelligence department with KPMG, then moved to Phoenix Equity Partners, a job she said she adored.

Slim hope

She lived in Holloway, north London, where she had bought a flat only two weeks before she died.

The last contact she had was with her boyfriend, Clive Brooks, just before she got on the Piccadilly Line that morning.

Her mother Liz Staffell and stepfather David Gould travelled to London to try to find her, but later gave up clinging to the slim hope she was still alive.

Miss Jones was described as "big-hearted, warm, humorous and downright likeable"

Her family said she was a "shining star" who loved parties and traditional folk music.

In a statement, her mother and stepfather said: "Wherever Helen went, she gathered up groups of people and organised them. Helen loved being with people, and was determined always to be involved and involving.

"It was impossible not to like her. She was big-hearted, warm, humorous and downright likeable. She drew people to herself in a unique way. She loved people and people loved her."

At the inquests her mother said a colleague recalled that a typical quiet evening meal out could end up involving most of the restaurant's other customers as she gathered complete strangers up into an amusing anecdote session.

They said Helen loved travelling and her holidays had taken her all round the world, from Australia to Iceland, from the Caribbean to Sweden.

'Very, very kind'

"Into a busy life, Helen had packed more living, more loving and more giving than many of us will achieve in a very long life.

"One phrase has been oft repeated by friends and colleagues alike - her being in a situation made a considerable difference."

Her mother told the inquests that friends and family had contributed to a book of memories about Helen, and her own entry read: "We are infinitely poorer for having lost Helen. We are all infinitely richer for having known and loved her."

Her former neighbour of three years, Julie Roberts, said: "She was a very lively person, she had lots and lots of friends and was a fantastic friend and neighbour. She also used to throw great parties!

"She was extremely intelligent and successful and very, very kind."

Miss Roberts said when water leaked from her flat into Miss Jones's, blew her electrics and caused her kitchen ceiling to collapse, she just laughed and they drank gin and tonics into the early hours.

"I think that is indicative of her attitude to life.

"She was a strong person with an enormous sense of fun and nothing was ever too much trouble. She is very sorely missed."

Three appeals have been launched in her memory.

Donations of £1,026 from Helen's funeral were given to the Glasgow City Mission.

Work on the Eden Valley Hospice Children's Unit in Carlisle started following a £141,000 donation from her last employer, with some £6,000 given by others. The unit opened in December 2007.

The Helen Jones Appeal Fund was launched by the Scottish Trust for Education and Research with assistance of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland to provide grants for young people in Dumfries and Galloway who wish to become accountants.