An exceptional life celebrated

2016-06-22 06:00
Photo: Tania Sandberg The Skinner family celebrate the life of their late father, Chris Skinner (front, from left) three of his five granddaughters, Gemma, Kira and Chloé (middle, from left) daughter Sarah Skinner, wife Jane Skinner and daughters Kate and Caroline Skinner, and (back) sons-in-law Ravi Naidoo (left) and Neil Coleman.

Photo: Tania Sandberg The Skinner family celebrate the life of their late father, Chris Skinner (front, from left) three of his five granddaughters, Gemma, Kira and Chloé (middle, from left) daughter Sarah Skinner, wife Jane Skinner and daughters Kate and Caroline Skinner, and (back) sons-in-law Ravi Naidoo (left) and Neil Coleman.

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Tania.Sandberg@media24.com

FAMILY, friends, colleagues and Rotarians gathered on Saturday, 18 June to celebrate the life of the late Chris Skinner.

“Christopher Skinner was born in 1940 in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. He and his wife Jane met at Cambridge University and came to South Africa in 1968, taking a voyage on the Edinburgh Castle.
He worked briefly in Durban for Unilever before moving to Johannesburg to take up a job as a journalist at the Sunday Times, Business Times. Chris later worked as head of information and public affairs for Wits University. In 1987 he returned to the Durban area and settled in Amanzimtoti, working for the KwaZulu Finance Corporation,” said his family in the order of service.

The order of service stated his achievements as Rotary District Governor and Amanzimtoti Rotary president, his achievements in the public relations field, as writer of a best-selling academic textbook, now in its 11th edition, and as a dedicated environmentalist.

“In Amanzimtoti, Chris created an intricate network of friends, colleagues and community projects spanning his interest in media, public relations and the environment. He was a teacher, writer and community activist,” it read.

His three daughters paid homage to their father at the celebration. Like in all spheres of life, he has been an exemplary husband to his wife of 50 years and an exceptional father

“We always saw ourselves as an activist family - it was amazing to hear that the one in our family who did the most unassuming work was actually the biggest activist,” Kate, the eldest daughter said.

“It was incredible to hear about the project he did with primary school children at Umbogovango Nature Reserve, to inspire children to take an interest in the environment. Just before he passed away, my father talked about Rotary and his projects.
“My father never gave up, ever. He planned to get local non-profit organisations involved in Rotary. We as a family would love to further his work, please talk to us about how we can continue his work,” Kate said.

“This event, a celebration of life, is so true to our father. Our father loved life. He would see children pulling out flowers and say ‘no, no, no’ with a big smile on his face. I will always remember him for his love for food....sticky buns has come up a couple of times the last few days,” said his youngest daughter, Caroline.

She recalled fond memories of her father slipping her under his arm, and alongside their mother nursing her back to health when she contracted shingles and the virus she caught in India.

“For me and my sisters, this will be a slow journey. His spirit lives in all of us. He taught us to always opt for generous and to slow down - something Skinners are not good at,” Caroline said.

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