RIP Julian Millward-Hopkins
Our tribute to the former Mercedes Middle East PR Manager, who passed away earlier this month
By Fraser Martin
Earlier this month saw the sad passing of Julian Millward-Hopkins, a much respected and admired former journalist and later PR professional, who was looking after Press and PR at Mercedes-Benz Middle East until a couple of years ago. Whilst he had been very ill for a very long time, the news of his death came as a shock to the region’s media professionals, which is a sign of the great affection in which he was held. Our own Fraser Martin spent a great deal of time with him during his tenure here and looks back at his fond memories of this friendly, warm and generous spirit in his own touching tribute:
It was very sad to hear the news of Julian’s death – he was one of the best PR guys in the business, a consummate professional and one of the few who fully committed to the spirit of any event he was involved in. He looked after me, as well as others, on quite a number of Mercedes Benz events over the years, and he has been sadly missed as part of the circle for some time.
I first met Julian when I got a call from him to put a car into a hotel here in Dubai. His team had been struggling for two hours to get the car along a cornered corridor and into position for a Press launch, and I think he may have been reaching the end of his tether – time was running out for sure! The problem was solved easily as it turned out – all I had to do was take the car out of the hotel and reverse it in: job done.
There were other times when we kind of saved one another – on one Press Trip he hopped aboard a car I had and asked if I could share it with him and another journalist (who shall remain nameless!) because he said “If you share this car with X, then I’ll know that at least half the journey will be without incident, and I’m stuck with this guy.”
The best run I remember was when he called me up one day, and said, “I have something you might like to drive; do you want to come and collect it?” Sure, I said, what is it? “Do you want to drive it or don’t you? Just get your arse over here!” It was the McLaren Mercedes SLR 722! He handed over the keys, with a parting shot: “Don’t break it, and get it back here by 5; I’m going out for dinner.” That was typical of Julian – if you were trusted, nothing was ever a problem. It was probably the rarest and most expensive car I had driven at the time.
Damien Reid (Autocar Middle East) and I took a massive detour in Iceland on the GL Launch, to get some black sand pictures, with his blessing; I had special arrangements made on a G-Wagen activity half way up a mountain in Austria and I well remember several evenings of sundowners, where despite having to limit himself due to his diabetes, he was the life and soul of the party.
His office might have been like a bomb-site most of the time, but from that chaos came some of the best Press trips I have been on. He was brilliant. I hope he’s resting peacefully now.