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Tributes pour in after Oystercatchers chair Suki Thompson dies aged 56


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

August 2, 2023 | 3 min read

Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to advertising industry stalwart Suki Thompson, who has passed away after over a decade of living with cancer.


Suki Thompson: 1967-2023

The Oystercatchers chair died on Sunday (July 30) at her home in Cornwall, surrounded by family. She spent the last few months of her life fundraising against the illness, raising huge sums of money and driving public awareness.

In a distinguished career, Thompson was best known for co-founding the Oystercatchers intermediary in 2007. A popular adland figure, she won many awards and championed and challenged the industry as chair of the Marketing Society and a member of Wacl (Women in Advertising, Communications and Leadership) and the MGGB (Marketing Group of Great Britain).

Latterly, she raised more than £200,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and shared her experience in newspapers and on television to warn others about the threat of melanoma.

Richard Robinson, managing director of Xeim Engage and Oystercatchers, worked closely with Thompson for years. He shared some words with The Drum: “Suki was my long-time business partner and friend. I always knew from my first day as an Oystercatcher this day would one day come, but never believed it would. Suki was one of a kind, the best of us, someone who leaves a legacy across the marketing and communication industry in the relationships she shaped and the humanity she shared. She was a beautiful soul and I will miss her greatly.”

Sophie Devonshire, chief executive of the Marketing Society, thanked Thompson for her contributions to the community: “She was an inspiration to so many... Her final message to us all is to appreciate that every day is a gift. It is so important and will stay with me.”

Mark Nohr, chairman of Until, posted: “Suki was a one-off. I will certainly remember her for the energy, positivity and generosity of spirit she brought to everything she did.”

Jo Coomber, a member of the board of trustees at Dynamic Earth, added: “She was a total inspiration to me and just the warmest person. She achieved so much at her end of life too, what an incredible legacy.”

Nishma Patel Robb, senior director brand and reputation marketing at Google and president of WACL, added: "As well as the profound sense of loss, Suki leaves us with gratitude for the time we were privileged to share with her. Suki was a trailblazer, a visionary, and a true inspiration to countless women in our field. As a member of the WACL since 2016, she was passionate about empowering and uplifting her peers. She worked tirelessly to break down barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and foster an environment of support and inclusivity for women in our industry."

The Drum will add more tributes as they come in. Suki’s JustGiving page remains active and a donation can be made here.

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