The likelihood is that you’re reading this on the Directors UK website, and perhaps you came here from the member newsletter, or from one of our social media accounts.
For a long time these were the domain of Marc Abbs, Senior Communications and Digital Manager of Directors UK, who passed away unexpectedly this summer at the age of 35.
The loss of Marc is unfathomable and deeply felt by everyone at Directors UK — but this is a loss that goes beyond the borders of our organisation. With Marc, directors have lost a great communicator, a problem-solver, a champion, and a friend.
Over eleven years of working at Directors UK, Marc got to know the organisation inside out. He started working in our distribution department in 2010, a job he excelled at for four years, before changing tack and entering our communications and digital department. In both areas, he learned all about the issues faced by directors today, and the importance of our collective efforts. He knew what could be achieved if we all came together as one force, and — in his own unshowy way — dedicated all of his determination and fierce intelligence to improving the day-to-day experiences of our members.
The results of his work are everywhere you look at Directors UK. Take our campaigning efforts: Marc spent months crunching data for our early reports exposing the lack of equality and diversity in UK Television, and from then on he always helped to frame our findings so that they would have maximum impact, and reach as many people as possible. If Directors UK — and directors in the UK — needed something saying, then Marc knew just how to say it.
Under Marc, our presence online grew and gained authority, becoming a platform for promoting members and our members’ works. The member newsletter, shaped and developed by Marc, is unique in the industry, reaching out to over 7000 professional directors every week. Day to day, many of you reading this will have come across Marc and his calm, helpful manner — whether he helped you through a technical issue, or you read one of his articles or reports.
Marc always knew that through thoughtful and detailed work, he could keep an eye on the bigger picture and keep everything ticking for our members – the complexities of our election voting, everything that kept our communications systems working was cleverly and deftly managed by him.
As Directors UK grew so did the team around him, and with typical patience and open-mindedness, he taught us what he knew.
That was Marc, Senior Communications and Digital Manager of Directors UK. But there was also Marc the grammar judoka, Marc the bon vivant, and Marc the family man. Born in 1985, Marc grew up in Hertfordshire, and showed his love of the written word from a young age. A consummate bookworm, Marc was lyricist-in-chief for his schoolmates’ band, and even went on to establish the school newspaper, which became a huge hit – and foreshadowed his work with our newsletter. It was only natural, then, that Marc would go on to earn an MA in literature and work as a librarian on his way to a career at Directors UK.
A typical work day with Marc would involve — alongside his own quiet, diligent work — frequent discussions of TV, film, celebrity, music and more. Marc loved culture in the most generous and unpretentious way, and his appreciation for things was deep and infectious. That was what gave him such affinity for the work he did it at Directors UK. He knew what art and culture of all kinds meant to people. How it could console and inform, thrill and entertain. He loved the way his work brought him closer to that process, and so his every day shone through with enthusiasm for work on screens big and small.
Eventually, however, his viewing habits had to take a back seat, as he and his wife Fiona welcomed Joey to the world. We were always thrilled by Joey and Fi’s occasional stops by the office, and so was he. Marc was a devoted father, completely unable to disguise his excitement at seeing his family when he got home at the end of the day — our thoughts are with them both.
As directors, you will know that there are people behind the scenes who help to make everything click. Who pursue their work with professionalism and passion, making the whole team effort possible. Who never take any headlines for themselves, and who make the hardest-looking days seem brighter and more achievable. That was Marc Abbs. And we all miss him.
Marc Abbs, 27 September 1985 – 26 July 2021. Marc’s funeral was held on 5 October 2021.