I KNEW Katie Haines for a short time some years ago when she was a reporter on the Ham & High and we were covering the same jobs. She was engaging and witty, a smart journalist with perceptive interviewing skills. A lot of reporters who knew her better than me will attest to that. Later, under the byline of her maiden name, Katie Samuel, she went on to work on the nationals before leaving London and working as a press officer for Oxford University.
Then, on a Friday afternoon two years ago the most horrific news suddenly came through: Katie had died, aged just 31, after being overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning. It was one of those afternoons when life feels fragile, too short, too unfair.
Her father Gordon Samuel invited me to his art gallery in the West End on Monday to talk about carbon monoxide awareness week. The Katie Haines Trust had to make a public awareness film themselves. When you see it, it’s hard to understand why they can’t find some way to get in on television. Sod money – somebody put it on for free. There must be a slot somewhere.
As Mr Samuel said on Monday: “You remember the ‘clunk-click’ safety adverts with the ghastly Jimmy Savile, and we are made aware every Christmas of drink driving. There are adverts for stroke, and now Network Rail have sponsored something for railway crossings. Not as many people die on railway a year as die from carbon monoxide, but Network Rail felt they had a responsibility to do it – and I’m glad they did. The energy companies make untold billions and it took us, a small charity, to do what they should be doing.”
The interview is HERE. The public awareness film is below: