Maybe this isn't the appropriate place to write about this, but I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face having learnt that one of my former employees has been killed in a sky-diving accident in Australia. Clare Barnes was the daughter of my friend Denis MacShane (Labour MP and Minister for Europe) and the former ITN newsreader Carol Barnes. BBC Online are carrying the details.
About four years ago Denis MacShane asked me if I would give some work experience to his daughter, Clare. He felt she was drifting in her life. What was meant to be a three week stint working in our bookshop turned into a year. She worked as a publicist for our publishing company and was really learning the job well when she decided that she wanted to go travelling again. She was a girl with a tremendous wanderlust. Clare had a terrifically bubbly personality and everyone liked her. Even when she had done something wrong it was impossible to tell her off without feeling guilty yourself. We were very sorry to see her go as she had taken to the work very well but it was clear that travelling was her first love. I am devastated for Denis & Carol and can hardly imagine the pain they must be feeling. The world has lost a smiling face and at Politico's we all grieve for her.