Jason James Pope was born on 20 December 1973 in Newton Abbot hospital, South Devon.   He, along with younger brother, Damian and sister Vashti, went to Hazeldown Primary school followed by Teignmouth Community College.  After his participation in the British Schools’ Exploration Society to the Yukon in 1990 (he was the youngest to take part), he returned enthused with geology. This was one of his ‘A’ level subjects studied at Exeter College. He obtained an honours degree in Geology at Kingston University and a post graduate degree in Mining Exploration at Leicester University.

His main interest was in the mineral gold.  After graduation, he immediately left for Australia and worked in the gold mines for a year. When the international price of gold fell, he returned home to work on a small gold mine in Crediton.   He explored the idea of working in Canada, but rather than sit doing nothing, in May 1998, he was offered and accepted a job on an Angolan diamond mine whilst planning to enrol for a distance learning business management course.

Shortly after returning to Angola following his first leave home, on 8 November 1998, the Yetwene mine was attacked by rebels. Several of his colleagues were killed and Jason along with 3 expatriates and 5 Angolans were last seen being herded into the bush.  For many years the families were led to believe their men folk were alive.  What followed the disappearance of the men is a story still waiting to be told.  Like finishing the Garden’s web site, one day ...!


It was Jason’s father, Alan, who saw a small plot of land on the cliffs of Teignmouth was to be auctioned.  He felt it would be a good way to commemorate Jason’s life - a way for Jason to be included within family gatherings.

When someone ‘disappears’ in such circumstances, it means there is no defined moment when ALL family members can accept the missing person IS dead.  Each person comes to accept that inevitability at different times, in different ways - and even then, there can be an extended period of time when you believe he’s dead, but hope he’s alive.  Oscillating between those two states.  He must be dead, but he may be alive!

When the hammer fell signalling this plot was now the Pope family’s - it was an emotional moment for Nev and Alan.  Did it mean they both accepted their son was dead? (Sadly the answer was “No”.)

There never seems to be enough hours in the day to organise this web site properly.  Like the Garden itself, it’s still under construction.  We have so many photographs that sorting them coherently is a job in itself.  One day ...!

But meanwhile, take from this site what you will, if only directions on how to find Jason’s Garden.