Real lives: Internet visionary ‘lived life to the full’

Jonathan Joyce was a passionate wild swimmer
Jonathan Joyce was a passionate wild swimmer
Share this article
Have your say

AN internet visionary who co-founded an award-winning Edinburgh-based digital company has died at the age of 41 in a swimming tragedy.

Jonathan Joyce, known as JJ, was one of the four co-founders of Storm ID Ltd, a Leith company delivering “multi-channel digital solutions” to high-profile clients such as Marks & Spencer, Trinity Mirror, Holiday Inn, ITV, Disney, Mars, the Beano comic and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

He was one of those who contributed to taking The Beano online, helping the much-loved British comic gain fans further afield.

Along with serving as Storm ID’s technical director, he was also a huge influence on sister company Storm Ideas, and was given much credit for the creation of Twibbon, now used by millions around the world to raise awareness of issues, and winner of the inaugural Golden Twits award for “Best Applications” in 2009.

A passionate wild swimmer, he was a member of the Outdoor Swimming Society, which promotes swimming in lakes, seas and rivers and created the website, which maps areas around the UK used for swimming outdoors.

Born near Twickenham in west London to Peter and Denise Joyce, he attended Hampton School, then became head boy at Halliford independent school in Surrey. Always a fan of sport, he was the captain of the school’s rugby team.

An academic, he excelled at maths and taught himself Spanish in the back of his French class. He went on to study chemistry and pure philosophy at Bristol University.

Jonathan spent a year studying maths, in French, at the Pierre-and-Marie Curie University in Paris, before returning to Bristol where he switched to pure mathematics, graduating with a BSc.

He moved north where he got an MSc in cognitive science at Edinburgh University, and met his great love, Stephanie Simon.

He spent some time in Ireland before he was interviewed by a kindred spirit, Simon Wall, and together with another couple of like-minded friends, Paul McGinness and Craig Turpie, founded Storm ID.

While working for them, he and Steph moved first to Sweden, and later to Devon, where they both developed their interest in wild swimming.

On Saturday he was swimming off Beesands beach, near Kingsbridge, Devon, when he got into difficulties. A canoeist pulled him from the water but he could not be saved.

His colleagues at Storm ID paid tribute to him, saying: “Jonathan lived life to the full. He taught us a few important things – fill your life with love, surround yourself with laughter and seize every opportunity like there’s no tomorrow.”

His mum and dad paid tribute to him, saying they had “many reasons to be proud”.

Jonathan Joyce is survived by his long-time partner Steph, sons Janus and Finn, sister Lisa and his parents.