John Weinberg 1958 - 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our colleague and friend John Weinberg, sadly passed away on 20th October 2016. John joined JNCC in Aberdeen in September 2011.   He made the long journey north from Dorset where he had been working for Finding Sanctuary undertaking stakeholder engagement for the designation of Marine Conservation Zones in the south-west of England. This put him in a great position to join JNCC’s Marine Ecosystem Assessment and Advice team who needed an enthusiastic marine biologist who could talk to people, had lots of patience and a strong sense of humour. John had all of these and more: he was cheerful, relaxed and beamed friendliness, immediately fitting in with the organisation and team. And so John became a marine assessment advisor and was quickly plunged into the depths of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. During the last five years he has helped to develop advice and indicators on seabirds and marine mammals for the UK and wider European waters, working tirelessly with other specialists from various organisations not only in the UK but also elsewhere in Europe.

 

John originally studied Zoology at University College, London and later graduated with an MSc in Hydrobiology from Chelsea College. But his ever growing preoccupation with the London University Sub Aqua Club led him to set up his own dive school and shop - Scuba Training Ltd -on Fulham Palace Road in London.  He successfully ran the business for nearly 20 years before coming back to his roots.  Diving maintained and greatly fostered his interest in, and passion for, marine biology.

 

On joining JNCC, John fitted in very quickly and enjoyed the new challenges the job threw at him. Working in the public sector was somewhat of a culture shock, but he tolerated the constraints we work under with mostly good grace. He was not afraid to learn new skills.  His laid-back approach belied the wealth of knowledge and experience that he had. He himself, often underestimated what he brought to JNCC both personally and professionally.

 

John’s passion for nature and the marine environment was infectious. He was an accomplished underwater photographer and would often share with colleagues his photographs of the many wonderful encounters, from here in the UK, or from one of his more exotic dive holiday destinations.  John remained a passionate diver and soon navigated his way on to the JNCC Dive Team.  A highlight of his diver survey work was finding and photographing the very rare feather star shrimp Hippolyte prideauxiana on a survey around Orkney.  His curiosity and ability to live in the moment often resulted in him persuading others to join him, whether it was hunting for stray humpback whales along the coast near Aberdeen or travelling abroad to go diving or snowboarding.

 

John was a great organiser and tour guide, but was at the same time, understated and humble.  He was very amiable and regularly encouraged others to indulge in his love of life and fun by joining him on his various trips to exciting and exotic locations.  At JNCC he took on the role of Secretariat for the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group and their Funders’ Group.  John would take great pride in sharing his underwater photographs during the breaks of these meetings to remind everyone why they were there. We all quickly became familiar with his dry wit and unique presentation style. In particular, his use of powerpoint animations would often have us laughing and groaning at the same time. His presentations were never dull and always memorable for their content as much as their humour.


 

John will be remembered for many attributes, but most of all for his passion for diving, wildlife and conservation.  He was an extremely nice bloke and a valued member of his team and JNCC. He will be sorely missed.  John’s funeral will be held

at 1:30 pm on Wednesday November 9th in the chapel of East Sheen Cemetery, Richmond, London (TW10 6HW). There will be a reception afterwards.

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