Gethin Bradley – a legend of motor industry PR

Gethin_portraitA very dear friend, legendary MIPAA honorary life president, and my avuncular guardian angel has sadly died.

Imagine Mad Men focused on public relations and transferred to swinging London of the 1960s and at its centre would be Gethin Bradley.  No-one understood the relationship approach to our occupation better.  No-one was more passionate about motor industry PR.  No-one from his generation was as enthusiastic about modern developments in the field (he read this blog without fail and loved that MIPAA had introduced so many members to social media).  No-one had more friends.  No-one was ever more hospitable, kind and generous.  I miss him so much already.

We even coined a verb – to be Gethined – defined as that feeling when you try to get up from a good lunch to find that your wine glass had been filled rather more often than you’d appreciated.  That PR skill is no longer required in these less alcohol fuelled days.  But I’m sure it will be welcomed on his heavenly cloud.

Gethin2There are so many stories that Gethin’s friends and former colleagues could, and will, tell as they hear the news and recall the good times.  None made him happier than talking about the 1954 Oxford and Cambridge Trans Africa Expedition he was involved in whilst a student, which led him into public relations.  I probably heard his stories a hundred times each, but never minded, because he was a raconteur and he stimulated my interest in the history of public relations.

Over the past decade or so, I gradually took over Gethin’s role as general secretary of MIPAA – but he was always there by phone, email or when I made the trips to Kent after the appearance of Herbert, his cancerous tumour.

Gethin1

Wherever he went when he was still mobile, people knew his name.  He was the epitome of the sociable public relations man.  It was a job that he loved.  But he was more than the life and soul that he appeared to be on the outside.  He was intelligent, informed, the son of an amazingly strong woman of whom he was phenomenally proud – as he was of his children and grandchildren.

More than anything, one word sums up Gethin – and that is, friend.  His passing is truly the end of an era.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

9 thoughts on “Gethin Bradley – a legend of motor industry PR”

  1. Great guy and someone for whom the term ‘pioneer’ is really justified.
    Sad to see his passing, and hope his achievements in motor industry PR will provide inspiration for future generations.

  2. The terms icon and legend are much overused, while bon viveur now rarely so and consequently misunderstood. Gethin was all three, bridging the space between old and new. He may have been an ‘old school’ PR, but one from whom many of us continued to learn or fine-tuned our craft. He was a friend to automotive PR and journalist alike and showed the way for both to work closely together. He did so much to shape MIPAA – former known as ‘Spoke n Wheel’ / MIPRA – and will indeed be sadly missed.

    Jeremy

  3. I first heard of Gethin as an apprentice at Rover in the late 60’s. He was one of those posh blokes in the inner sanctum of the sales block, in PR (apprentices no admission) who were always at lunch. Professional entertainers. It turned out to be true but that’s how the job and the deals were done in those days. I first met Gethin when I eventually joined the PR team, his old team, after joining MIPAA in 1984. All you had to do to learn from Gethin was watch and listen, he was an inspiration! Thanks Gethin, many of us owe you at least one if not more! Cheers!

  4. A kind, lovely and generous man, of whom many of us were very fond. Always a story to tell of a bygone era, that was filled with motor racing legends and tales of yesteryear – I and many others will sorely miss our good friend and the fun times we spent together…..

  5. Heather
    A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.
    Long may his memory and inspiration live on – particularly whenever we are ‘Gethined’ and reflect in the glow of having known such a great man.

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