Bath Voice News: former leading light behind the Bath Festivals dies in road collision

By Harry Mottram: the founder of the Aesop arts foundation organisation – the arts enterprise with a social purpose – and leading light of Bath Festivals in the formative years of BANES has died in a road collision near Brize Norton on January 24th, 2024.

Tim Joss, 68, died while cycling, in a collision a VW Polo car. Former Bath Labour Councillor Hilary Fraser said: “He will be missed by numerous friends of music here in Bath and far beyond. Tim steered Bath Festivals in the formative years of  BANES Council. He was a superb leader and innovator and a talented pianist in his own right.
My association with Tim arose because the Council appointed me to the Board.I was at that time an elected Labour councillor. It was an honour to represent the purpose between Council and Trust. At the time our Chair was Jonathan Dimbleby and the partnership of Jonathan and Tim Joss was inspiring for all in the area who appreciated and benefitted from the expansion of musical opportunities back then.”

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision near Brize Norton on Wednesday 24th January.

They said: “At around 3:55pm a red VW Polo, driving towards Brize Norton on the Witney Road, was in collision with a bicycle, which had been travelling in the same direction. Sadly the cyclist, a man in his sixties, was declared deceased at the scene. His next of kin have been informed and a family liaison officer is supporting them. The car driver, a 19-year-old man, was uninjured. He was arrested on suspicion of ‘causing death by careless driving’ and has since been released on bail.”

Senior Investigating Officer, Sergeant Dominic Mahon of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said, “Sadly a man has died following this collision and our thoughts are with his family. I would ask anyone who saw this collision, or the vehicles involved beforehand, to contact us.

“I would also ask any drivers with dash-cams, who were in the area at the time, to check their recordings and let us know if they have captured anything that could help our investigation.

“We would ask you to get in touch by calling 101 or visit our website, quoting reference number 43240036565.”

In 2014 Tim Joss set up Aesop (Arts Enterprise With a Social Purpose) which has included initiatives such as Dance to Health, and previously was involved with the work of the Wiltshire Music Centre.

Chair of Aesop, Professor Kevin Fenton, said he, the other trustees and the staff, were devasted by the news. He added: We are so very sorry to lose our wonderful colleague and friend Tim. It was a privilege to work closely with him to realise ambitions of Aesop over many years. We will deeply miss his advocacy, passion and commitment to creative health.”

Tim’s widow, science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry, a former trustee of Aesop, said: “He was a pioneer, a leader and deeply proud of his team, board and dance artists, using evidenced arts interventions for health problems… We loved each other deeply. I am utterly bereft.”

The Oxford Mail’s Robert Folker wrote: “In his education years, Mr Joss won a scholarship to read maths at Queens College Oxford but his real love was music. He went on from Oxford to study piano at the Royal Academy of Music before becoming artistic director of the Bath Festivals.  His time in Bath saw him also become a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour for his services to French music. Mr Joss then went on to head a major grant-giving trust, the Rayne Foundation before developing a theme of bridge building which was used to put together the hit dance show ‘Five Soldiers’ by Rosie Kay. He also set up the National Numeracy Scheme and helped secure funding for education for Arab and Jewish children in Israel.”

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Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769