The untimely passing of Rodney Rice has laid bare the strong feelings of respect and admiration for his work as a journalist and broadcaster. However, it was his devotion, advocacy and persistent interest in development issues that made him one of the long-term adjudicators for the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.
For well over a decade, Rodney brought his journalistic insights, understanding of development issues and great sense of collegiality to the judging table. Not only did he bring rigour to the process of judging, but he went above and beyond the requirements of any judge, by being an avid promotor of the Fund. He was always more than willing to provide advice to applicants, and he greatly supported the promotional campaigns for the funding rounds, by participating in information sessions for prospective applicants, media interviews about the Fund, and short videos for the Fund’s social media channels.
In more recent years, when the Simon Cumbers Media Fund instigated a student round, Rodney became the most prominent ambassador for it. Together with the Fund administrators, he visited third-level colleges and enthralled students with anecdotes, advice, and insights into covering development issues in the media.
Rodney’s demise is a huge loss to the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, for his experience and devotion will be difficult to match. But beyond what he brought to the Fund adjudication, Rodney was the presence that animated the judges’ room; his collegiality, intelligence and great sense of fun helped to make long, intensive days lighter.
On learning of Rodney’s passing, Simon Cumbers’ wife, Louise Bevan, wrote some words that reflect what all of us who had the pleasure of working alongside Rodney feel at this sad time:
l am so sad and shocked to hear of your passing. Oh, how we will miss you at the Media Fund!
Your huge knowledge, expertise and support of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund and Student Scheme meant a great deal to Brona [Cumbers, Simon’s mum] and me, and played an important part in its continuing success.
I send my sincere condolences to your family. We will never forget you.
With happy memories, Louise.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.