Ian Markham-Smith + 1951- 2011
NAPA member and respected national newspaper freelance journalist Ian Markham-Smith has died at the age of 60.
Ian suffered a massive heart attack last week, at his home in France, and despite the best attentions of hospital medical staff, he passed away on Friday.
He was not only an accomplished journalist, but also a loyal and faithful friend who earned the respect of colleagues thanks to his great expertise and a winning personality.
Ian had a long and varied career in journalism, starting out on the Farnham Herald, in Surrey.
From there he joined the Birmingham post as property correspondent and then returned to Surrey, to join the Cassidy and Leigh agency, before going to Fleet Street where he first worked for the Evening Standard .
He did a stint on the staff of the Sunday Telegraph, but returned to the tabloid field when he was appointed European Editor of the National Enquirer.
That was followed by a successful spell on the Sunday Mirror, where he met Liz Hodgson.
Never one to stay in the same place too long, the couple moved to the Far East where Ian became editor of a glossy magazine, the Hong Kong Standard.
After that they moved to California where he, and Liz, led where others followed, founding the highly-successful Westwords agency in Los Angeles.
It was in the USA that Ian picked-up one of his biggest 'pay days' when he was attacked, during an attempted interview, by movie star Sean Penn. He succesfully sued the actor and was awarded $250,000 compensation.
Ian and Liz had an abiding love affair with France and moved to live there around 10 years ago, while still running their American operation.
Through his work Ian touched the lives of countless numbers of people and only this month had celebrated his 60th birthday.
For many years he was a respected and valued member of the National Association of Press Agencies.
The sympathy and condolences of NAPA and its members go-out to Liz and other members of Ian's extended family.
There will be a strictly-private funeral at 4pm tomorrow (Tuesday) in France.
NAPA President Denis Cassidy, said: "It is typical of his personality that Ian did not want any fuss surrounding his funeral.
"He was not only a superb writer, but also very good company and had the innate knack of winning the confidence of most people he met.
"One notable exception to that rule was Sean Penn. It was a mark of the man that Ian himself gladly told the story of how he had been assaulted by Penn and won satisfaction by way of a tidy sum in compensation.
"He was a great character and we are certainly going to miss him.
"I would ask every one of his friends and colleagues in NAPA and the wider industry to spare a thought and a prayer for Ian and Liz around the time of the funeral service."