FCN’s Founder and Honorary President, Christopher Jones MBE, passed away on 14th May 2023.

The memories and tributes shared with FCN by Christopher’s friends and colleagues demonstrate how much his work and friendship benefitted and enriched the lives of those around him.

You can download a booklet containing tributes to Christopher below:

Christopher Jones MBE

The most wise, gentle man of great faith & so generous with his time and care for others. He will be very badly missed by so many.

The Revd Canon Barbara Clutton, Chaplain to the Board of FCN Trustees

Christopher was a man of great integrity and intellectual ability combined under a Christian faith which inspired him continually to help those facing adversity, taking a stand against injustices, whilst motivating countless others to do likewise.
This all consuming devotion to service was enabled by the steadfast support of his beloved wife Ita.
Christopher’s passion was infectious, his tenacity indefensible and his immense love of humanity were all facets of this humble giant of a man whom I had the privilege to walk alongside for a short time – a period which I shall treasure always.

Charles Smith, former FCN CEO

Christopher was full of kindness, fun, compassion, wisdom and humility. He wore his incredible intelligence lightly. For his outstanding work, he was duly honoured with the MBE and with Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies of the UK (FRAgS). For those of us who knew him all those years he was a true friend and enabler who showed us all the values of:- clarity of purpose, sensitive delegation, and team-building to assemble the network of volunteers across the UK in our FCN team today. Christopher laid solid foundations for FCN. May we build wisely on them as a tribute to Him, and for Jesus Christ he served and with Whom by grace through faith dear Christopher is now safe for eternity.

To read John’s fascinating full tribute to Christopher ‘Half a Century of Friendship, Faith in Action & Fun‘, with references to some of papers and publications compiled by and contributed to by Christopher, click here.

Dr John Wibberley, Chairman of the FCN Board of Trustees 1998 – 2003, and FCN Chaplain, Devon Group
Christopher and Ita Jones

The Jones Family were good friends, having got to know them in Kenya when CMS evacuated them from Nigeria, when things got impossible for them to stay during the Biafran war in the late 1960’s. They stayed with us for a few days in June 1969 , with young Catherine.
We were managing a small coffee farm, for the Diocese of Nakuru, in the Rift Valley, Kenya. We first met them there.
CMS asked them to manage Isinya Rural Development Project while the family there were on UK Leave.
When we returned from a further period of service with CMS in Tanzania in 1997 Christopher suggested I joined FCN as a Volunteer , as I had been a Member of ACF after my Certificate Course at the Dorset Farm Institute ( Kingston Maurward ) in 1958/9. So we continued our friendship in the UK.

John Fowler, Bexhill, East Sussex

I have known Chris for too many years to remember , worked with him during foot and mouth and the farming charities. A very conscientious, caring and faithful Christian ,always keen to help the next farming generation.

Michael Larder

Christopher has been a good friend and co-worker in building the kingdom of God in the rural areas.  Our friendship goes back to the sixties when I was then working for Mission for Christ – Rural Evangelism.  He remained a faithful friend and prayer partner when I left MfC and started Rural Sunrise (now called Rural Mission Solutions).

Rev Barry Osborne
CEO Rural Mission Solutions

FCN’s Board of Trustees offer our heartfelt condolences to Christopher’s family during this difficult time. Christopher was loved and respected by all who knew him and he will be remembered fondly. His wisdom, kindness and enduring support for the farming community not only led to the creation of FCN but has remained a guiding force behind the charity since its inception. His legacy lives on through FCN and the many people who have benefited from the work of the charity’s dedicated volunteers and staff team.

Mark Suthern, Chair of FCN’s Board of Trustees
The Revd Canon Barbara Clutton, Christopher Jones MBE and Mark Suthern, Chair, FCN

There is no doubt in my mind that my life would have been poorer if I hadn’t had the privilege of meeting Christopher. He was a pioneer and a leader, encouraging his troops to support the bruised and battered farming community. What a wonderful man and what a wonderful legacy.

  Nick Viney, Farmer and FCN Volunteer since 1995

It was with great sadness that we in FCN  Cumbria, and especially myself,  learned of Christopher’s death. He will be remembered for his enthusiasm and support when we first ventured out into the farming community in 2004. He came to Cumbria in those early days and encouraged us to build a strong network throughout our county and stayed with Helen and I. He was such good company and so well versed in agricultural affairs and family life.
A remarkable and articulate man who will be fondly remembered by us all.

Brian Armstrong

I am devastated  to read that Christopher Jones has passed away.  What a gentleman, what a remarkable life,  dedicated to the service of others.  I was privileged to have hosted him on all of his visits to N Ireland to support and promote FCN over here.  He was knowledgeable beyond compare, had a wonderful sense of fun, and was the kindest and most gracious individual I have ever met.  The photo below was taken on 18th March 2019 when Jim Carmichael (now sadly deceased too) and I took a trip over to visit Christopher and Ita.  We all had a great day reminiscing and making plans for more trips. Sadly, Covid hampered this, and now both these great men are gone from this world. Condolences to Ita, the extended family circle and all his friends in FCN.  May Christopher rest in peace.

Eileen Cassidy

I worked on Chris and Ita’s farm when I was a teenager in the late eighties/early nineties. Their great kindness and faith in God has stayed with me through the years. Rest in peace, Chris.

Rebecca Howard

Christopher Jones was an outstanding man, who made an outstanding contribution. He was both pastor and prophet, who helped define what it means to be a Christian in agriculture in the 20th and 21st centuries. He was a man of both thought and action. He had huge vision and energy. But, above all, he did everything with those rare virtues of kindness and humility. 

To read more about Dr Peter Carruthers’ extensive work with Christopher over many years (FCN, ATP and ACF) click here

Dr Peter Carruthers
Former Chairman of FCN and ACF, and member of ATP Steering Group.

I am privileged to have known and worked alongside Chris in FCN since 1996. His wisdom, intelligence and desire to support others has sown so many seeds of hope. With someone so knowledgeable and humble it was always a gain to be in the same room as Chris. He expressed the love of God to all and I am truly blessed to have known him.

Stephen Dennis, Farm Support and Network Manager, FCN

So sorry to hear such sad news. I used to work at Manor Farm when I was a teenager and was part of the church youth group run by Chris Jones, so many happy memories.

Isabella De Santis

A great man and a wonderful servant to the farming community.

Sam Conway

Christopher was such a gentleman, and will be remembered for his integrity, kindness and service to the wider farming community.

Vicki Beers
Christopher Jones MBE (Credit: Farmers Guardian)

Christopher Jones was educated at Repton and Bailliol College, Oxford, taking a B.A. degree in agriculture. He then spent some years in West Africa, working on agriculture and rural development at the Rural draining Centre at Asaba. From 1967-68 he and his wife Ita served as missionaries in local connection, centred at Okigwe, Nigeria.

Mrs, Jones trained as a nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. Their marriage took place in 1963 and they have two daughters, Catherine and Annabel.

Asked how the call came to serve the Church overseas Mr. Jones replied: “I’m not quite sure. The family farm gave rise to a desire to study agriculture. Then there arose a sort of Oxfam idea. Six months as a volunteer at the Rural Training Centre, Asaba, was my final undoing!”

To read the full tribute from the Church Mission Society, click here

Church Mission Society

I remember his wisdom and support when I chaired Peterborough Diocese’ Council for the Countryside. His insights were very greatly appreciated.

Robert Barlow

Heaven gains another true saint. Chris leaves a massive legacy which will carry on giving glory to God.

George Dunn

All of us within FCN take this time to reflect and remember its Founder and Honorary President, Christopher Jones. He was a truly remarkable man; a visionary with a deep Christian faith committed to supporting and ‘walking with’ those in need in our farming community. Christopher will be sadly missed by many, especially among our FCN network and beyond. Rest in peace Christopher.

Jude McCann, Chief Executive Officer, FCN

What an incredible legacy he leaves. So many lives not just enhanced but no doubt saved. Thoughts with (I’m certain) immensely proud family and friends

Anna Longthorp

Christopher was the kindest and cleverest man, my friend and mentor. I count it as an absolute privilege to have worked as his deputy at FCN from 2001-2008. I learnt so much from him. Christopher was a great man. Wise, compassionate, determined and visionary. A humble and faithful servant of the Lord.

Helen Bagwell

We are truly saddened to hear of the passing of Christopher.
A truly amazing man who started such an important organisation.

Just Talk Agriculture

Such a lovely guy – so sorry to hear of his passing – such a vision he had that came to fulfilment!

The Revd Jane Parry

Although I didn’t meet Christopher in person, he leaves behind a fantastic legacy in the form of FCN. The amount of farming families and communities that have been helped since he founded the organisation is immeasurable. What a vision he had. 

Charmain Dascombe, FCN Regional Support Officer (South West)

I remember Christopher’s great kindness when Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth broke out when we were at a conference and I knew the massive impact it would have on pig farmers. He persuaded me to be a Trustee which I was very apprehensive of. He was always prepared to make sure the farmers needs were heard where it counted and he was held with great respect in the highest places

Jean Turnbull

I worked closely with Christopher during my time as a local catchment advisor in Northamptonshire, regularly visiting the farm to develop a Countryside Stewardship Application. I learnt a lot from him, and he was always a pleasure to be around. A warm loaf would always be waiting on the table, too. Rest in peace. Thank you for all you have done, your legacy will continue. 

Georgina Wallis

Christopher was a friend for nearly 50 years, ever since I was a minister in Cirencester and a chaplain at what is now the RAU. I’ve so many treasured memories of getting involved in ACF and making so many friendships that have lasted all these years through the founding and growth of FCN, working as an agricultural chaplain, moving to the ARC, being part of the ‘Country Way’ editorial group and the Churches Rural Group, struggling through the FMD crisis…… and Chris was there in all of it.

Gordon Gatward

I have very fond memories of meetings with Christopher during the early days of the formation of FCN.
His gentle manner combined with his dogged determination to get the job done will always be a source of inspiration to me. What a powerful legacy he leaves and what an eternal promise he has now inherited.

Steve Jackson

I met Christopher some years ago through my work with Barclays Agriculture & it was then that we started to talk about FCN. We had many interesting conversations & I shall fondly remember sitting in the office with Christopher & Ita as we discussed all manner of things over a cup of tea. In truth it was those chats which inspired me to volunteer for the charity once I had the time to do so.
Personally, I treasure a note that they sent to me when I left the Bank. It was so kind of them & unexpected.

Geraldine Calvert

We were so very fond of Christopher. We worked together on a research project with ACF. He was such a wonderful person and his legacy will live on with FCN and in many other ways.

Margot Hodson

I first met Christopher through ACF. He was a gentle Christian friend who inspired and encouraged many including me. He had a wonderful brain, passionate to help all who were despondent and powerless, yet upset with those causing these situations. He converted these emotions into action by founding FCN. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten.

Malcolm Harrison, FCN volunteer since 1995

Thank you Christopher for your visionary obedience, tenacity, faithfulness, patience, gentleness and for just being you. With the deep love and support of Ita you impacted so many lives to an extent that only the Lord can know. Thank you for inspiring us with the fruit of the Spirit. Loved and admired by so many; what a legacy! 

Howard Petch

Christopher invited me to take a part in FCN. He was always ready to listen to me, and he was a tremendous encourager. Whenever we met he showed great humility and faith in God. I came to know him first through the Agricultural Christian Fellowship and its annual conferences. We were both members of ACF’s committee.
I shall be forever grateful to God for all that Christopher stood for – God’s values of justice and righteousness. He showed the love of God in all that he said and did.

Anthony Matthew

What a remarkable person Christopher Jones was. I would have loved to have met him. He sounded like he was a very kind person who really cared about others and had so many amazing qualities.
My thoughts go to his wife, Ita and send my love to Ita and their daughters and their families.
The farming community and The Farming Community Network and many others will mourn his passing.

Heather Merrett
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