RIP Angie Martin 1974-2009

It is with overwhelming sadness that I write to tell our community that Angie Martin, mySociety’s fourth core developer, has died. She was taken from us by the cancer that she had been fighting since soon after we hired her less than two years ago.

Possessed of an almost unbelievably upbeat personality, Angie brought not only her formidable Perl skills, but her blazing warmth of character to our team. In remission during our yearly retreat in January this year, she combined laughter with a typically tough line of questioning on ideas she thought insufficiently robust. With typical disgregard for cool, her CV noted that she was “known to enjoy wrangling regular expressions on a Sunday Morning”. She didn’t see any contradiction between being a successful woman and a geek, throwing herself wholeheartedly into the Mac-toting, perlmonger ethos. She even brought her husband Tommy with her, who became a significant volunteer.

Given her habit of plain speaking, it is pointless to pretend that Angie was able to make the contribution to mySociety’s users or codebase that she wanted to. What she achieved in terms of difficult coding during recovery from chemotherapy was incredible, breathtaking – but she wanted to change the world. It now falls to the rest of us, and our supporters, to live up to the expectations she embodied, to continue to push every day, using skills like those that she had to help people with everyday problems. We now have to ask ‘What would Angie do?’, as well as ‘What would Chris do?’. It is a lot to live up to.

She was a mySociety core developer: I hope that meant as much to her as it meant for me to have her as one of my coders.  Remember and Respect.

Updated: Angie changed her surname upon getting married, a couple of months ago. I have just read she wanted to be remembered as Angie Martin, and so I have made that change.

Updated 21 7 2009: Tommy has just told me that those wishing to may memorial donations should send them to Hospice at Home.


  1. Having worked with Angie briefly during my own time at mySociety, I can attest to all of Tom’s words above. Angie really did want to change the world — and I can’t help but imagine the impact she would have made with more time.

    My heart goes out to Tommy and the rest of her family. I know the mySociety community is mourning the loss of Angie’s warmth and skill, but the rest of the democratic coding community will surely be feeling her departure, as well.

  2. It’s always the good ones who are taken from us. 🙁 Bless her and her family. Her work will live on through the fantastic tools she has helped build.

  3. My thanks to you, Tom, for your kind and eloquent words about Angie. I wish I could express my joy of knowing Angie in such lovely terms. I met her when she was 10 — I had been transferred by my American company to England, worked with her mum and became friends with them — and enjoyed watching her become the honest, delightful and admirable young woman you knew.

    I treasure my visit with her and Tommy in spring of last year when we shopped for the multi-purpose Buff scarf in preparation for hair loss, walked along a special bit of lakeshore in Keswick, and played tourists at Hadrian’s Wall. She will never be forgotten but will be sorely missed.

  4. I had not heard of Angie before this blog post. But I assume that MySociety works as a fairly small team and can well imagine you are quite close as a unit, especially given that you work so hard on ethical projects. I’ve worked in small teams with good people too and can well imagine how hard it would have hit me to have lost certain colleagues and friends.

    She sounds like one of the good’uns. Sorry for My Society’s loss and it sounds like society in general has lost out here too.