Memorial Service held for geologist Campbell Bridges
August 31, 2009 — A memorial service for renowned Scottish geologist Campbell Bridges, who was killed in a dispute over mining in Kenya, was held on August 21 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya.
The service was attended by family, friends, Kenyan Chamber of Mines members, ICA members, government officials, embassy officials, miners, and members of the gemstone community.
A Kenyan mob killed Bridges during a dispute over mining in a national park on August 11, police said.
Bridges, 71, died near the town of Voi in southern Kenya, where he owned several gemstone mines.
Bridges is credited with discovering the green Tsavorite gemstone in the 1960s, according to the New York-based International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA). Tsavorite is a mineral belonging to the colourful gemstone group of the garnets, the ICA says.
Key speakers at the memorial service included Kenyan Commissioner of Mines & Geology Dr. Bernard Ropp who spoke of Bridges’ dedication in working in very harsh terrain in order to develop and promote the gemstone mining sector in Kenya.
Cedric Simonet, Vice Chairman, Kenya Chamber of Mines, spoke of Bridges as someone who worked tirelessly, “not just for himself, but for all miners, the gemstone industry and the development of his country, Kenya”.
He noted that Bridges was a founding member of the Kenya Chamber of Mines and its first chairman.
“As member of the Chamber, Campbell has always been helping his fellow miners, offering advice and support. Security among the mining communities, not only his, but all mining communities, was among his major concerns,” said Simonet.
He also noted that Bridges had been advocating more law enforcement for the mining sector and for the creation of mining police. He vowed that the Chamber would continue his fight for better mining legislation and security.
Member of Parliament and Government Assistant Chief Whip Hon. Johnson Muthama, who is also an ICA member, made it clear that the government must take measures to improve Kenyan mining laws and create greater security in the mining areas.
Other speakers honouring Campbell at the ceremony included former Commissioner of Mines & Geology Wilson Siambi; H.E. Donald Teitelbaum, US Ambassador to Ghana, and the Hon. Beth Mugo, Minister of Public Health & Sanitation who made assurances that the government is concerned about the murder of Campbell and will continue the investigation.