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Industry Gathers to Celebrate the Life of Jonathan Peck

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Members of the international pest control community gathered on Friday, April 11, to pay their respects to Jonathan Peck, who died last September.

Frances McKim | April 14, 2014

Michel presented Fionnula with the cedar of Lebanon certificate. (Photo: Frances McKim)

Editor’s note: Members of the international pest control community gathered on Friday, April 11, to pay their respects to Jonathan Peck, who died last September. Peck was chairman and majority stockholder of U.K.-based Killgerm Group and a passionate advocate for the pest control industry. Frances McKim, editor of Pest magazine filed the following report.

LONDON, UK - More than 200 people from across the spectrum of pest control, representing not only the UK and US pest control markets but also from across the globe, gathered at the largely Gothic magnificent Southwark cathedral, London, UK on April 11 to commemorate the life of Jonathan Peck who died on Sept. 15, 2013.

During the service, which was led by the Dean of Southwark, the Very Reverend Andre Nunn, a personal tribute to Jonathan was made by his widow, Fionnula Peck. The moving tribute was read by her sister, Una Warrington. Peter Kitson, the chairman of Killgerm group gave an updated version of the eulogy he so brilliantly presented at Jonathan’s funeral. There were also readings from Rupert Broome (Killgerm managing director) and Dr Gai Murphy of Salford University, UK. Supported by the cathedral choir it was an inspiring event.

After the service, guests walked to the CIEH headquarters for a buffet lunch followed by a series of presentations designed to recall and elaborate on Jonathan’s extensive achievements and just as importantly to explain how his legacy will live on. Fittingly, the first speaker, Rupert Broome outlined Jonathan’s business successes at Killgerm which he summed-up as being: “From modest beginnings to global presence. When Killgerm was first established in 1978 there were 13 employees and a £333,000 turnover, by the time of his death this had expanded to 17 operating companies, based in 10 countries, on three continents with a turnover of £35 million and 170 staff.” In a phrase reiterated by several of the speakers, Jonathan viewed the company more as his ‘family’ than a business and the industry at large as his extended family.

The speakers who presented a snap-shot of Jonathan's achievements. Left to right: Michel Bayoud, Dave Oldbury, Graham Jukes, Jennifer Leggett, Rupert Broome, Alan Buckle and Peter Minhinnette. (Photo: Frances McKim)

Secretary of the National Pest Advisory Panel (NPAP) Dave Oldbury recounted the initial discussions at a CIEH conference in September 2000 at Harrogate, UK which led to the creation of NPAP, Dr Alan Buckle outlined Jonathan’s key leadership role in the formation and operation of the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) which was officially launched in February 2005, followed by CRRU-Ireland in September 2013. As CRRU’s chairman, Alan also detailed Jonathan’s pivotal role in persuading CRRU to picking-up the gauntlet and lead the Second-generation Anticoagulant Rodenticide (SGAR) Stewardship regime. Alan said he had been worked with Jonathan on this up until a few weeks before his death: “If this scheme is implemented and is successful it will be due in no small part to Jonathan’s foresight and determination.”

On the international stage, Jennifer Leggett of Lindsey Pest Services from Jacksonville, FL highlighted Jonathan’s involvement in and support for the Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM). Originating in the US, with Jonathan’s support and Sabra Fearon’s enthusiasm this group has been extended to the UK. Amusingly Jennifer explained that Jonathan, always in a pink shirt for PWIPM meetings had been declared ‘an honorary chick’!’ Jennifer also relayed tributes from Bob Rosenberg, chief executive officer of National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and also Dr Bill Robinson on behalf of the International Conference on Urban Pests – held every three years, Jonathan had attended every one from Cambridge in 1993 to Ouro Preto, Brazil in 2011. She summed Jonathan up as being a very generous and forward-thinking man and one she was proud to call a friend.

Jennifer Leggett spoke on behalf of Jonathan’s many friends in the U.S. (Photo: Frances McKim)

On the international stage, Jennifer Leggett of Lindsey Pest Services from Jacksonville, FL highlighted Jonathan’s involvement in and support for the Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM). Originating in the US, with Jonathan’s support and Sabra Fearon’s enthusiasm this group has been extended to the UK. Amusingly Jennifer explained that Jonathan, always in a pink shirt for PWIPM meetings had been declared ‘an honorary chick’!’ Jennifer also relayed tributes from Bob Rosenberg, chief executive officer of National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and also Dr Bill Robinson on behalf of the International Conference on Urban Pests – held every three years, Jonathan had attended every one from Cambridge in 1993 to Ouro Preto, Brazil in 2011. She summed Jonathan up as being a very generous and forward-thinking man and one she was proud to call a friend.

Also representing the global industry was Michel Bayoud from Boecker Public Health in the Lebanon. Michel talked of Jonathan’s knowledge and passion for the industry and his work in building bridges. As part of Jonathan’s legacy and following on from the NPMA organized PestWord East in Dubai last year he announced that there would be an outreach conference every three years and that the first will be in Beirut in 2016. There will also be an annual educational grant, the Jonathan Peck Award, for a Middle Eastern pest professional. Touchingly Michel also said that a Lebanon cedar tree had been planted in Jonathan’s memory and he presented Fionnula Peck with a special framed certificate about the tree.

Jonathan’s generosity was something which Peter Minhinnett from the charity, Water for Kids, elaborated on. Peter described Jonathan as a fund raiser extraordinaire. Relating how he first met him at a CIEH conference in Belfast in 2003, he explained how Jonathan had drummed-up some enormous and valuable prizes and then, once the money raised was counted had generously doubled it – something which anyone who ever attended a post PestTech Pest Control News dinner will know he continued to do.

Rounding off the afternoon was Graham Jukes, chief executive of CIEH. He paid tribute to Jonathan for his unstinting support of the CIEH, not only in producing the series of CIEH booklets but also in his campaigning; most recently in assisting CIEH in its work preparing for the London Olympics. Highlighting Jonathan’s contribution to the World Health Organization’s book, Public Health Significance of Urban Pests, and co-authored by Kevin Sweeney of the EPA, he announced that the £1,000 a year bursary for an environmental health student previously set up in memory of Xavier Bonnefoy (another author of the WHO book) will be extended and re-named the JIP/XBO award. As a further element in the Jonathan Peck legacy, Graham also said that it was his intention to raise the profile of NPAP and that he would be going to the next NPAP meeting to discuss how the organization can become the national monitoring organization for the UK pest management sector.

The session was brought to a close by chairman Bob Mayho, representing NPAP, and guests were then invited to raise a glass in memory of Jonathan with a deafening round of ‘three cheers’ to end a memorable day.

 

 

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