It was called ‘A Service of Thanksgiving Celebrating the Lives of Terry Lloyd,Frederic Nerac,Hussein Osman and Gaby Rado’. The organisers,ITN, didn’t call it a memorial service,probably because Fred Nerac’s body has never been found therefore officially he is ‘missing’. There was thanksgiving for their lives but so emotional was the event that at times it felt like a delayed funeral. Ten years may have passed but for many of those at the journalists’ church,St Bride’s in Fleet Street, those sad days in Iraq felt more recent,much more recent, than that.
I have attended many sad services at St Bride’s,at one the then rector invited me to come back ‘for the events we do other than memorial services’ .But undoubtedly this was the most moving. That’s partly because four men were lost ,three in one incident and one in another,partly because Fred is still missing,but mostly because six children of the men were there and,ten years after their father’s deaths or disappearance ,were old enough to take a full part in the service.
Fred Nerac’s daughter Camille and his son Alexandre (himself a news cameraman) read letters to their father they had written for the service and Terry Lloyd’s daughter Chelsey gave a reading.At the end of the service they were joined by Chelsey’s brother Oliver, and by Gaby Rado’s sons, Tom and Louis, to light candles in the heart of the church. A clip of Hussein Osman with his son was included in a video tribute.
The four men’s former colleagues also took part in the service. ITV News’s Bill Neely,who had hired Fred as a video editor/cameraman for the Brussels bureau,gave an address as did Martin Geissler who remembered his ‘mentor’,Terry Lloyd. From Channel Four News Lindsey Hilsum read a Shakespeare sonnet in memory of Gaby Rado and Lindsay Taylor imagined a phone call to his old friend recalling memories and recapping the missed events of the last ten years.
The Editor of ITV News ,Deborah Turness,sat next to Fred’s wife Fabienne who she had helped through the trauma ten years ago,and read ‘Memorial’ by James Fenton. The wonderful St Bride’s Choir ended the service with their own interpretation of ‘I know him so well’.
The congregation who comprised all facets of the ‘ITN family’ past and present and included some of the ITN diaspora now working at the BBC and Sky News went round the corner for a drink and talked about a special night and some very special fallen colleagues.