Renowned British journalist Simon Dring was looking forward to participating in “one final project” centring Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee of independence, before he passed away unexpectedly in Romania last Friday.
This was shared by his partner for the last 26 years of his life, Fiona McPherson, in a Facebook post paying tribute to her beloved. The nature or details of the project were not specified. Dring was 77 at the time of his death.
Also in the post, Fiona shares how she was informed by the hospital that “Simon died in his ETV polo shirt, which our girls now hold as a precious keepsake of their father.”
The couple have twin daughters, India and Ava, from their union on earth.
Dring’s outsized attachment comes across for all to see in the post, strewn with names and organisations and explicitly stating the depth of the bond he shared with the country.
Below we reproduce the text of the status in full:
SIMON JOHN DRING. 11.01.1945 - 16. 07.2021
It is with crushing sorrow that I confirm the sudden and unexpected passing of my beloved partner of 26 years, and the father of our blessed twins, Simon Dring.
Simon died in recovery after an emergency but routine operation in a hospital in Romania on Friday 16th July 2021 at 2.30 am; where we have been living since early 2020.
We were excited to shortly move to France for permanent retirement, intensive family time, and for Simon to write his autobiography.
Simon’s success and achievements in his life as a renowned international journalist are very well known. His ingenuity and drive to capture the true story no matter what the cost; to go where it was required, and to do what was needed for that end, is the stuff of legend.
Indeed, our twins have spent many a bed and bath time sharing his extraordinary adventures! It gave our girls, and myself, boundless inspiration and far-reaching courage to live the road less travelled with him. To find answers and meaning in wide horizons.
Simon had started to write a series of short pieces regarding his years as a foreign correspondent and had planned to publish them in South Asia in the near future.
Simon had hoped to participate in one final project later this year, for his beloved Bangladesh, as that country celebrates its important milestone of 50 years of independence. A period in history to which Simon is forever linked, both in fact, and in soul. For Simon to miss this milestone, would simply have broken his heart.
I wish to mention here that I have been informed by the hospital that Simon died in his ETV polo shirt, which our girls now hold as a precious keepsake of their father.
There is too much to remember and too much to say for my saddened mind today.
A life lived as Simon’s, has never fulfilled any expectation of normal: routine, responsibilities, consistent, safe, mainstream. It was simply impossible for him to do so. His life was iconically unique.
For those close friends and family with whom I have not yet managed to let you know this sad news, please accept my apologies. Events have surpassed me.
To his friends and colleagues around the world; many of whom were part of his unique history, I say that you were and are still so much part of the shaping of his long story. You were often part of our thoughts and conversations over so many years. Tim Page. Farhad Mahmud. Bernard. Abu Alam. Emma, Jarhna, Deben. And so many more.
For friends and family and colleagues who continue to send their wishes, please know it gives me sincere comfort. Myself and our 2 little girls are deeply grateful. We will try to respond to as many as possible in the time ahead.
To his family in England, France and Spain who spent so many years loving and caring for him; missing him; waiting for him to return home from yet another warzone- and wondering if he really would, I know he was truly grateful, and I know of his regrets.
To his beloved daughter Tanya from his first marriage; to his first wife Helen who first supported his rise to great heights; to his sister Sue who has endlessly been there when Simon appeared off a plane from some far-flung country seeking a meal and the warmth of family, I say a profound thank you. Simon loved you all with his whole heart.
Tom, Dan, Michelle, Sophie, Chris, Jeremy and to all the nieces, nephews, cousins and next-generation versions of those too; he was deeply connected to and so proud of you all; even if his manner and frequency of expression of it was so very Simon Dring-esque. To his only grandsons Nicholas and James, I have watched him glow with pride at how you have grown into confident, handsome young men of the future.
A life is full of many parts and many chapters. Simon’s life reflected that much more than most. All of it: his family, his friends, his parents, Fakenham, England, Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Romania, Haiti, the Silk Road, Eritrea, On The Road Again, BBC, Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, SportAid, India, Laos, Iran, ETV, Jumna TV, all the TVS, Romanian orphanage and street children who have loved him as their father, and his breathtaking 10 year old twin girls: all moved forward with him and comprised a unique life, well lived, with its music very much revealed.
His contributions, his legacies will continue forward too- in their own unique right and because we will not let them fade.
Your 3 Roses are broken, Dringo.
As India and Ava hugged your cool body today; whispered their promises in your ear and kissed your exquisitely calm face- I wondered how it would be possible to move forward.
My own promise to you on the morning you died, as I held you in shocking disbelief, is that I will raise our beautiful girls India and Ava to be strong, capable, competent, brave, articulate young women; creative, kind, world travelled- with boundless inspiration and very wide horizons. I know how much you adored them.
You were my best friend. My kindred traveller soul. I am so grateful for your love and for the time we were given together.
Oh Dringo, we always thought you would live forever.
We will never forget you.
Rest now in eternal peace.
It is time.