We regret to inform members of the passing of Hugo van Randwyck, who died of cancer on 26th January. It was particularly sad that Hugo did not live to celebrate our departure from the EU, for which he had campaigned for many years.
Born in the Netherlands in 1962, he was the son of Baron Frans Otto van Randwyck. He was brought up in Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa, and attended Felsted Public School in England. He graduated in aeronautical engineering from Queen Mary College, University of London.
Hugo developed his career as a management consultant with Alexander Proudfoot and Knox Darcy before working independently in Australian, the Netherlands, South Africa and the UK.
Campaigners will remember Hugo as a frequent lively attender at rallies and conferences held in the cause of independence from the EU. His unfailing enthusiasm and good nature impressed all he met, while his pamphlets and reports inspired many to study the matter in greater depth.
Hugo was best known as the founder of EFTA 4 UK, which campaigned for the UK to leave the EU but re-join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – the trade bloc which the UK itself led the way in establishing in 1960 as an alternative to integrationist EU. As the EFTA countries are able to participate in the single market through the EEA agreement, EFTA 4 UK offered a gentler way of exiting the EU for those worried about the economic impact of leaving the single market. Hugo operated between London and Brussels, where he met with officials, politicians and activists to advance his ideas of an independent relationship for Britain with the EU.
CIB was fortunate enough to have Hugo address a meeting we hosted in Derby in 2013; the first in a series with other speakers across the country. It ran up to the referendum. We outlined the regrettable history of our EU involvement and its incompatibility with our parliamentary constitution. Hugo then outlined his ideas for leaving and becoming an independent good neighbour. I think this was probably the first occasion when many of us realised that we were in so deep that leaving the EU would be a process rather than a single, dramatic event.
Hugo is survived by a brother and sister to whom we have sent our condolences on behalf of CIB and his many other friends in the independence movement.