Martin Humphrey Freeman, 31/01/1948 – 08/11/2022.
Martin Freeman, co-founder of propertECO and former Chairman of the UK Radon Association sadly passed away on 8th November 2022 after a long illness.
Martin had been involved in the field of radon since 1988. Having been engaged in specialist building preservation services, hygiene and public health services since 1970, in the late 80’s Martin started to receive enquiries regarding radon. For 20 years, he provided ad hoc advice and remedial services to clients in the UK whilst the market was in its infancy.
Following a major heart attack in 2009, when Martin was Managing Director of a national preservation company, Martin made the decision to reassess his work/life balance and focus on the things that mattered most to him for the remainder of his working life.
Martin had a personal interest in the field of radon. In his own words, “2009 also brought the upsetting diagnosis that my eldest sister, Alethea, had lung cancer. Due to lifelong ill-health she spent more time than most at home and, in particular, downstairs in her living room. I had previously tested her house for radon and found the level to be 135 Bq/m3 within the living room, well below the prevailing UK Action Level of 200 Bq/m3. Alethea died from lung cancer in 2011. As to cause, her consultant oncologist agreed that, as a non-smoker who had never been around second-hand smoke, long term radon exposure to a level of 135 Bq/m3 was the likeliest identifiable suspect. Alethea’s death galvanised and energised me to devote my working time to increasing awareness and action against radon. In 2011, I founded propertECO to fulfil that objective along with a colleague from a previous post, Rebecca Coates.”
propertECO quickly became recognised as a leading centre of expertise in the UK, and grew a national client base of everything from private householders to multinational corporations.
Martin was also the instigator and driving force behind the UK Radon Association’s creation in 2013. He served as Chairman until 2016. He was also a founding member of the European Radon Association (ERA) and sat on its Executive Committee from 2013 – 2018. In 2015 he initiated the Coalition of International Radon Associations (COIRA), bringing together the leaders of the UK, European, American and Canadian radon associations to share knowledge and work together on important cross-border research. He was the Chair for the first two years.
Martin retired in 2019 but continued to offer consultancy services to propertECO and independently, and to participate vociferously in national and international policy consultations on radon.
Martin loved to travel and was a popular face at radon conferences across Europe and North America. His sense of humour has been remembered by many over the past few weeks.
Martin’s passing is a huge loss not only to his friends and family but to the worldwide radon community. His knowledge, experience and desire to increase awareness and develop better industry practices will be greatly missed.