Elizabeth Idienumah: In Memorium

Every once in a while, news arrives that hits you like a ton of bricks, coming from so far out of left field that you could never have seen it coming, even if you’d been looking for it. This is not a piece about the Government Shutdowns, Debt Ceilings, or the Tea Party. It is, however, a short and personal piece about something that puts all that nonsense into context.

As a talking head on various media outlets, I’m expected to be able to talk on demand, but this week I have been left lost for words, due to an event that I know has distressed a number of people that I have been fortunate enough to work with at Aljazeera. Last weekend we lost one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to know: Elizabeth Idienumah.

Elizabeth was not necessarily someone you would know from watching Aljazeera, but if you had ever worked with the channel, if you had been invited to give an interview, then she was someone you would never forget: glamorous, statuesque, striking, utterly charming and a true professional, Elizabeth worked as an Interview Producer in the London bureau of Aljazeera English, arranging for those of us with something to say, to turn up at the right place, at the right time and deliver the goods on camera. Heading into the London studios has always been a pleasure, one made all the more enjoyable by the team on the Interview Desk. Along with her colleagues Mandy, Ruchi and recently Caroline, Elizabeth was always on hand to ensure that the interviews went smoothly and on schedule.

Yet Elizabeth brought an extra dimension with her; an essential quality of decency and passion for news gathering and information delivery that was a delight to behold. Always ready with a wide, beaming smile, she was a joy to work with. Elizabeth could be relied on to go far beyond the necessary and perfunctory aspects of her remit, and to inquire how things were going.  She remembered the details that counted, the facts that mattered and understood how to get the very best out of those of us she worked with. Of course, she made it seem like anything but work. Her warmth and focus was always something to anticipate, a pleasure to behold, and all too suddenly, a wonderful, poignant memory.

Working with Elizabeth at Aljazeera was always a pleasure and her passing this weekend, aged 42, is an absolute tragedy; a loss to her colleagues, to the network and to those of us who had the very great pleasure of working with her over the last several years. To say that she will be missed is an all too obvious sentiment. She will be succeeded, but never replaced…

16 thoughts on “Elizabeth Idienumah: In Memorium

  1. Thank you for such a moving piece. Elizabeth was an angel who blessed so many people with her love, dedication and energy. Sorely missed by all who knew and met her. Laura.

  2. Former colleagues at Radio Scotland / Radio 4 in Glasgow are still reeling with the news. What a lovely piece, beautifully written and heartfelt.

  3. Thanks, James, for speaking for so many of us. Elizabeth was one of those rare people whose friends and relations have ample reason to refuse her the right to say, I wish I could have done more for you. No doubt memories of her selfless friendship will continue to lead all of us, who were lucky to have known her to honour her, toward sharing that legacy with others.

  4. This is such a befitting piece for just a peaceful person. The last time I saw Elizabeth was at her mum’s Surprise party where I brought my mum and left her alone with the oldies. If only …

  5. My heart cries out with unspeakable sorrow for it has realised that it
    Will never see your face
    Will never see your smile
    Will never hear your laughter
    Will never smell your perfume
    Will never feel the joy of being in your company
    Will never see you anymore
    My heart cries out with unspeakable Joy for it has realised
    That my memories of you will last a lifetime
    I will remember your face
    I will remember your smile
    I will remember your laughter
    I will remember the smell of your perfume
    I will remember the joy of being in your Company
    For as long as you are remembered by all those your spirit touched in your lifetime you will live on
    Dedicated to Elizabeth my Friend and Sister sweet dreams till we meet again

  6. I was not fortunate enough to meet Elizabeth in person, but heard so much about her admirable qualities through a mutual friend. It was a shock to hear of her passing so suddenly, may she rest in peace.

  7. I think Dr James you have summed up heartfelt sentiments that everyone can relate to. Elizabeth went to primary school and she was always consistently a wonderful person full of joy and happiness and loved by all!! She will be missed by all her family and friends.

  8. This is a truly sad day for me, I have read tribute above and yes it says everything about how Elizabeth was, and even as far back as I remember her in my class at Ravenstone School Balham, she was always happy, her smile always showed kindness and love but in the nicest way but as a genuine friend. she never had a bad word to say about anyone or anything. She was so humble even from school days and yes very, very charming with princess qualities. As my good friend above Joanna said Dr James summed it all up in his tribute to Elizabeth.

    RIP Lady E, God has placed you in better place,

  9. I’ve only just heard the news and like you, James, as someone who worked with Elizabeth as another “talking head”, I too am shocked and at a loss for words. She truly was one of those exceptional persons that one would never forget – pure class from head to toe and a genuinely inquiring mind.

    May God bless her and her family.

    Charlie Wolf

  10. I meet Elizabeth when I first joined the BBC in 2007. She was incredibly warm and nurturing. I am truly shocked by her sudden passing. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

  11. Wow, this is sad I do a google search once on my last name Idienumah and only to discover that this hardworking and accomplished woman who may be my relative has passed on, judging from what i have read on here, it shows the kind of life she lived and i am proud to have the same last name as Elizabeth. May her gentle soul continue to Sleep in Peace.

    God bless the Author of this memorium and all those who have commented.

  12. This is the first day – I kid you not,since the day my baby cousin died that I have been able to…..think, read, say her name without feeling the pain of each breath with the good memories and the awful memory of her death. My whole world which was already spinning off axis from the loss of my parents and then…inexplicably, my younger cousin, my Lizzy Loo. In my childhood,she was the first memory of what a cousin was and In her legacy to my three little girls, her nieces, she has left priceless treasures like the truly wonderful piece above written by Dr James D. Boys and all the many, many people we have met since and will continue to meet. Those who have admired and been inspired by ‘Elizabeth’. What better inspiration to 3 little girls, I couldn’t ask for a better role-model for them. Thank you for the recognition xxx

  13. I have read this beautiful tribute to my beloved Lizbet so many times over the years and I am finally leaving a comment. I bumped into Elizabeth, very unexpectedly, a week before she passed away.

    We chatted and laughed as always and made plans to meet up. I phoned her on her last Friday night but was unable to get through. I didn’t think anything of it – and then on Monday I learned the awful truth. I cried myself empty – and then I cried some more. I continue to cry for her. I still can’t believe it. We had been friends since the age of 11 and her passing has left a gigantic hole in my life.

    She was the most beautiful person – inside and out – and as much as we were there for each other, I wish I’d done even more for her.

    I am somewhat comforted by all the little quirks of fate that ended up putting us both on Victoria Street that afternoon as it allowed me what I didn’t know at the time would turn out to be the most wonderful and hilarious of goodbyes with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

    We miss you so much, Lizbet.

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