Read at Anthony’s Funeral

I’d like to thank Catherine and Anthony’s family for allowing me to say a few words. For although it is painful to stand before you today, above all else it is a great privilege.

Anthony was a dear friend to many people and I’m proud I was one of them. For me, he was a rare friend too. Someone I’d met as an adult but liked so much I wished I’d known as a child.

Maybe that is just sentimental indulgence. Really I should just be thankful I knew him as long as I did.

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by Tim Jotischky, Read at Anthony’s Funeral

‘Dead at 39: the shining light of African journalism goes out’. That was the headline in the Press Gazette, journalism’s trade newspaper.

We know Anthony Mitchell was a brilliant journalist; not because he told us himself – Anthony, like all the finest journalists, was quite insecure and, despite all the bravado, never realised how good he really was – but because in the days and weeks after his death it was evident in the lavish tributes bestowed by colleagues old and new; in the services held in his memory in Kenya and Ethiopia, and the numbers who turned out to mourn his death; and in the grief shared by all who value a member of the profession who, whether unwittingly or not, changed the world around him by what he wrote.

But, though I too am a journalist, I am not here to remember Anthony Mitchell, the journalist. I am here to remember Anthony Mitchell: the loving son; the much-loved brother; the loyal husband; the proud father; the ebullient, perenially entertaining friend.

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by Magnus Temple, Tristan Hughes and Tess Wicksteed, Read at London Funeral

I remember a number of years ago, at a time when birthday’s were still something to celebrate I had a birthday meal with perhaps a dozen, fifteen people. Anthony said to me ‘cor blimey – I’m not sure I could muster up as many friends’. Well Ant, (as I look around me today) I reckon you’re doing pretty well today and that’s not to mention the services already held in Nairobi and Addis – a sign of how many people from different world’s have been in touched and inspired by you.

It’s important to say that the following tribute is a joint effort, written together with Tess and Tristan. We shared two years of living together with Anthony at York University and many adventures since.

This may seem strange for those who first came across Ant in his post-hair, post-fashion incarnation, but when we first met him in York he appeared a rather glamorous figure – he had Paul Smith tops, a large room with a telly, a toastie machine, a credit card (without which I’m sure all of us would’ve starved that first term), and, perhaps even more importantly, a life that he’d already lived before arriving. (Anthony had spent a few years in Business and therefore had the priveliged status of a mature student).

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Read at London Funeral

I am about to do something that would have made Anthony unhappy.

You see, in December and January, when the war in Somalia was raging, we were all putting in 16 hour days and taking turns editing stories from out stringer reports.

The lead editor that day would have to process information from 10 different sources and write it up into one story, with someone else’s name on it just to add to the trauma.

At the end of one these days, I said to Anthony he had done a great job. He looked at me, sneered, and said, “I hate it when you say things like that.

Today, I can’t help it. I have some good things to say about Anthony Mitchell.

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By Tony Hickey

Since John Graham has told this story at the remembrance service for Anthony, I thought I should add some more detail, and supply a photo.

It was April 2005, the obelisk was coming back, but the Italians kept postponing its departure from Rome. Rumours were flying around, some people felt that the delays were deliberate, to sabotage the celebrations by ensuring there was no media coverage – international journalists couldn’t afford to hang around in Axum, great place though it is, indefinitely.

Anthony and Tony in Axum

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Testimonial delivered by John Graham at a memorial service for Anthony at St Matthew’s Church, Addis Ababa

Catherine, (Tom and Rosie) John and Jackie – thank you for being here today to help us to remember and celebrate Anthony.

I know that I speak for Anthony’s many friends here in Ethiopia when I say that we need this time to express our feelings of sorrow and to give whatever support we can to you, as Anthony’s family.

We have many memories of Anthony in Ethiopia, which I’d like to divide into two broad categories – his sense of humour, and his intense interest in justice and fairness.

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A from Tsegaye Tadesse at Anthony’s memorial serivce in Addis Ababa

Mrs Mitchell,
Parents and friends of Anthony,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Permit me , to shed some light on the close working relationship I developed with Anthony Mitchell during his two or so years , he had worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press in Ethiopia.

The late Anthony Mitchell, was a colleague and a friend and a fearless and outstanding journalist.

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From the Press Gazette

Anthony Mitchell died when Kenyan Airways Flight 507 plunged into a mangrove swamp in Cameroon on 5 May.

Based in Nairobi, he had become one of southern Africa’s most respected journalists since leaving the Daily Express six years ago.

He was working for Associated Press when he died, aged 39, leaving wife Catherine and children, Tom, three, and one-year-old Rose.

Close friend Oliver Harvey, The Sun’s chief feature writer, remembers him.

He would have said: “Spin it up; just make me look great.”

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Memories of Anthony, its trickier then you first think, particularly if you are trying to come up with memories for the children. But I’ve decided to give up trying too hard to think of ‘appropriate’ memories and let the ones closest to the surface spill out.

For some reason, one of my strongest memories was sitting in the Arsenal Bar watching football. Presumably it was Chelsea vs. Arsenal but to be honest I can’t actually remember apart from the fact it was definitely Chelsea. The bar was full with well behaved supporters who were favouring Arsenal but were applauding good play by either team – in a way which admittedly confuses any British football supporter. I’m guessing it was a strained match, but finally (from Anthony’s perspective) Chelsea scored. Anthony immediately jumped up, stuck his face close to some unsuspecting Arsenal supporter, arms out front, two fingers out on each hand and expressed what he thought of their support for the opposition. The bar was silent. Hysterical!!!

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From the author of the blog Ethiopian Politics

Simply put, Anthony Mitchell has single handedly restored our (Ethiopians) confidence in foreign journalists.

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