September 23, 2006

Obituary: Tim Field

By Keith Munday, Member of the Core Group: Freedom to Care, and Honorary President, DAWN

At the time of going to press The Tim Field Memorial Lecture is being jointly organized by the two anti-bullying in the workplace support groups, OXBOW and DAWN. The intention is to hold the Lecture in Oxford on Saturday, 28th October 2006. See:

Tim Field, internationally renowned pioneer of anti-bullying in the workplace, and sometime director of Freedom to Care, died of cancer, at the age of 53, on 15th January 2006.

A fellow member of the Core Group of Freedom to Care has shared her impressions of Tim in the following way: 'I will always be indebted to Tim. I first met him at a Freedom to Care AGM and he struck me as being a quiet, modest man. Later I was to learn how far he had pushed the issue of bullying onto the public agenda. Every documentary I saw on TV listed Tim among its credits. His courage was astounding and he remains for me a beacon of hope'.

Tim had suffered from a serious breakdown as a result of the bullying directed towards him in 1994. But, in spite of this - or, perhaps because of this - Tim went on to establish the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line in 1996, and its accompanying website Bully OnLine, the world's largest resource on workplace bullying and related issues. He wrote the highly influential book, Bully In Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying, in 1996, and co-authored, with Neil Marr, Bullycide: Death at Playtime, an Expose of Child Suicide Caused by Bullying, in 2001.

In 1998, he published, through his own publishing house (Success Unlimited), David Kinchin's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury. In addition to this, he, lectured all over the world, wrote articles, appeared regularly in the media, and set up Bullyonline, an internet-based discussion forum, as well as source of support for those on the receiving end of this unacceptable form of behaviour.

As Honorary President of DAWN (Dignity At Work Now), an anti-bullying in the workplace support and campaign group, of which Tim was Patron, I admired him tremendously. He was a communicator par excellence, a campaigner, a leader, a teacher, and literally a life-saver. He displayed exceptional integrity, courage, loyalty, generosity and determination. He was compassionate, wise, self-effacing, perceptive and truly inspiring.

I first met Tim when he and I attended one of the spate of conferences dealing with workplace bullying in the latter half of the 1990s. He was already gaining a national reputation as a speaker in this relatively new area which was beginning to attract the keen attention of academics, trade unionists, lawyers, health professionals, and those engaged in personnel issues. For me, this was the start of a most enlightening and rewarding relationship which was to be cruelly cut short by Tim's passing.

Tim deservedly achieved an international reputation for his ability to convey with such profound insight and clarity the true nature of bullying in the workplace. His work gained academic recognition through the award of two honorary doctorates. Moreover, his reputation was enhanced even further by his willingness 'to put his head above the parapet' in his determination to expose, and hold to account, the perpetrators of wrongdoing, even though the sacrifices he made in so doing were undoubtedly at considerable cost to his own well-being. Tim was a good man. He has left an enduring legacy for those wishing to share, and to achieve, his vision of a bully-free world.

June 2006


No comments: