From the Mission to Seafarers
The Revd Tom Heffer – Statement
It is with deep regret and great sadness that The Mission to Seafarers announces the death of its Secretary General, the Revd Tom Heffer.
Mr Heffer, 43, was appointed the charity's 15th international leader in 2009 following eight years as director of chaplaincy.
Last Tuesday (17th April), Mr Heffer lost consciousness whilst driving to work and this led to a subsequent minor collision. His heart was restarted at the scene by emergency service personnel and he was taken to a North London hospital where he remained, unconscious, in the Intensive Treatment Unit. In the early evening of Monday, April 23, Mr Heffer passed away with his family by his side.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Robert Woods CBE, spoke of Mr Heffer's strong Christian leadership, adding: "Throughout his short time as Secretary General, Tom was driven by a desire to redefine maritime ministry so that it remained relevant and effective to the modern seafarer. The Trustees will greatly miss his enthusiasm, intelligence, energy and dedication. He has left a lasting legacy, one which we will strive to honour and cultivate as we take forward his vision of delivering maritime ministry beyond the next horizon."
Acting Secretary General, Martin Sandford, praised Mr Heffer's selfless commitment to seafarers and his appetite for life, saying: "Since becoming Secretary General, Tom made sure that the Mission remained true to its calling of providing the best possible services and care to seafarers of the merchant fleet. He was a compassionate man, motivated by his faith to make a difference in this world. Always ready with a witty quip or a welcoming smile, Tom had an immediate rapport with people, instantly making them feel at ease and that they were in the company of a friend. His passing leaves a tragic hole in the life and ministry of the Mission to Seafarers, but we are grateful for the time we had to work with and learn from him. Please remember Tom’s wife, Roz, his daughter, Abi, and his family in your prayers; their loss is so much greater than ours."
Thomas Patrick Heffer was born in 1969 and educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and King's College, London. After graduating with an Honours degree in Divinity, Mr Heffer volunteered as a chaplain's assistant for The Mission to Seafarers and served seafarers in the ports of New Orleans and Singapore. Following his ordination in 1996, he held a number of appointments within the Church of England, including chaplain and press officer to the Bishop of Norwich before joining the executive staff of The Mission to Seafarers in 2001.
Funeral arrangements and details of a memorial service will be announced on www.missiontoseafarers.org in due course.