St Christopher’s Cathedral in Manama will be open between 3pm and 5pm on Saturday for those who wish to come and pray for Camille and her family. The cathedral’s dean, The Very Reverend Christopher Butt, will be in attendance. Messages can be left in a book of condolences.
The Gulf Weekly team gathered in my office last week. The usual banter (and occasional sharp word) was missing. There was silence and an agonising pain in the eyes of the journalists and sales team united in grief … we had lost one of our own, a shining diamond called Camille Jones.
Like a true gem, Camille, our former sales manager and fashion columnist, had many facets.
♥ A warm and loving mother to her three sons, Cody, 23, Aiden, 15, and Kieran, 12.
♥ A psychology student, trained mentor, counsellor and motivator.
♥ A superb advertising saleswoman whose media industry knowledge was welcomed by companies large and small.
♥ A talented writer, engaging readers with a profound knowledge of fashion trends.
♥ A keen sports woman, a runner and footballer who helped establish the women’s game in the kingdom.
♥ And, she was more than a colleague and friend, she was family.
Camille died on the school run when she was involved in a collision with a car after her hired vehicle had broken down on a highway bridge overlooking what is locally referred to as Burgerland Roundabout early last Tuesday morning.
She was on a week-long visit from her Canadian home in Guelph, Ontario, with Aiden, visiting St Christopher’s School pupil Kieran who lived with her ex-husband, Dave, and his new family, in Bahrain.
Despite the marriage break-up they remained good friends and between them caring and considerate parents.
The Gulf Weekly team is small and like many offices on the island with an expat and Bahraini team, it has its share of people coming and going.
Camille often took on the role of ‘mother’ figure and ‘agony aunt’ and ‘confidante’ – particularly for the current team of journalists Zahid Balooshi, Mai Al Khatib-Camille, Kristian Harrison and Honey Sharma. She even won over the grumpy editor with her amazing apple pies, produced regularly for our Curry Monday sessions, instigated to reduce the press day pressure.
She was as close to her other colleagues during her time with us from 2013 to 2016, including Bambi Manalese, Charlie Holding, Nawar Farooq, Gopal Nambiar and Ryan Bayona.
On a personal note, she encouraged me to take up running with a challenge of beating her marathon relay time, labelling me ‘rocket man’ as later encouragement.
She also urged her replacement, Jalal Jaffar to switch camps from our sister newspaper the GDN by constant badgering and showing overwhelming enthusiasm for Gulf Weekly. Messages of saddness, shock and sympathy from the business community and readers have been overwhelming.
Although Camille continued her sales and media career in Canada, writing and editing a fashion page at The Guelph Mercury Tribune, she regularly kept in touch with us all here.
On her last working day in Bahrain in 2016 we presented her with a front page, a traditional farewell newspaper industry gift for valued scribes at a restaurant in Saar, and we were expecting her to join us on Wednesday for another get-together.
She even voiced-mailed a media friend who had moved to Dubai saying she would catch up with her on her next trip to Bahrain.
Fate, unfortunately, put paid to all those plans.
She may be gone, but her memory will be treasured.
Her funeral is set to take place in her Canadian home city of Winnipeg this weekend and a book of condolences will be opened at the same time at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Manama.
There are plans to hold a service in Bahrain to celebrate Camille’s life at a later date.
Stan Szecowka, Editor
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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