I was very sorry to hear of the sad passing of our former colleague Tim Holt at the age of 79.

Tim was the first Director of the Office for National Statistics, overseeing the amalgamation of the Central Statistical Office and the Office for Population Censuses and Surveys in 1996. During Tim's leadership of the ONS, he instigated the formal work on census under-enumeration and pushed forward developments to improve business surveys.

Tim dedicated his life to the improvement of statistics, not just here but across the world. Following his PhD in statistics at the University of Exeter, he worked with Statistics Canada to pioneer work on hot deck imputation as well as being one of the world's leading experts in survey sampling. In the late 1980s he returned from Canada to become Professor of Social Statistics at the University of Southampton where he worked together with Professor Fred Smith. He led the development of one of the leading centres of excellence in survey sampling and social statistics globally.

I can honestly say that there are many national statistical offices around the world, as well as our own, whose work over the past four decades has been greatly influenced by Tim's work. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts go out to Tim's family at this time.

Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician.