Former RBS CPO’s four tips on dealing with a tragic event

Gurjit Degun
30 September 2014

Gurjit Degun © Akin FalopeA CIPS Fellows’ event last week heard an emotional story about how former RBS CPO Nigel Crutchley dealt with the tragedy of losing his nine-year-old son Ben to brain cancer two years ago.

He shared four principles which he believes can also be applied to leadership, and help others facing a difficult situation.

Response. “You have a choice in how to respond to a particular event,” said Crutchley. “I know that as we have come through this, choosing the response that we did has had a major impact on where we are now.”

Make every second count. “There are 86,400 seconds in each day, how do you use yours?” said Crutchley. He explained once he learned of his son’s diagnosis, he asked him and his brother Luke for their wish list. They wanted to meet One Direction, JLS, drive a rally car, fly a plane, go to Disneyland Paris and the list went on. Crutchley agreed and organised the events for the boys. “This was our response to Ben being ill,” he told the Fellows. “I did not waste a second. If someone had asked me the day before Ben had a seizure to organise all this in 10 months I don’t think I would have believed I could.”

Think big. “Given difficult circumstances, you will be amazed at what you can achieve,” he said. After Ben passed away in February 2012, Crutchley said that he would like to give back to CLIC Sargent, the cancer charity that helped his family through the tragedy. So thinking on a bigger scale, he gave himself the target of raising £1 million for the charity. He has so far raised almost £200,000 from fundraising events including his first skydive, a triathlon, two half marathons, and by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and he has plenty more fundraisers on the horizon.

Ability. “How do you access your ability and enable others when you think your world has fallen apart?” said Crutchely. He told the Fellows the best advice he received from CLIC Sargent was to surround yourself with the right people. He also listened to those with greater knowledge of a particular subject.

Crutchley said the outcome of the 10 months his family had with Ben has left them with some very happy memories.

☛ Visit to find out more and how to help Crutchley reach his £1 million target.

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Anglia Ruskin University
South Sinai (EG)
$100,660, 2 year contract, tax free salary, housing, meals, medical, relocation,
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