Mark Ridler - Year 2003
In January 2003 lighting designer Mark Ridler suffered a devastating road accident which put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, paralysed from the waist down. In addition to providing immediate assistance, Light Relief set up a dedicated bank account to enable friends and colleagues to donate funds directly for Mark’s benefit. Presenting Mark with £3,000 from Light Relief, we were also able to give him an additional £700 which had been raised specifically for him. Mark put the bulk of the money towards a specially adapted car, which made a real difference to his employment prospects, as well as having an enormous impact on his independence and lifestyle.
Mark said: "The fact that Light Relief got involved so early helped with my initial fears for my family's welfare and thus with my rehabilitation. Getting through an experience such as this is a physical and mental journey. The material support is extremely helpful, but the care and affection shown by so many is just as beneficial. I was grateful to Light Relief for being an appropriate focus, as well as for the generosity of the fund itself."
Julian Williams - Year 2001
Julian had been in the lighting business in various capacities for over 25 years, but for two years treatment for bowel cancer prevented him from working. Part of his plan to get back into action was to learn how to produce stage lighting plans with AutoCad files. Thanks to Light Relief, Julian was presented with a copy of CAST Lighting’s WYSICAD 2-D and 3-D visualisation software. Training and follow-up support was provided by AC Lighting.
Paule Constable - Year 2001
"I am a freelance lighting designer with two children. My partner, also a freelance in the theatre industry, injured his back and, unable to walk, was hospitalised for five months. We were thrown into a situation where he could neither care for the children nor earn any money. I had to continue to work in order to support us, but could not afford to pay for the vital child care to allow me to do this. I used up all the savings and favours that I could - when I ran out of both, Light Relief stepped in to help me with my child care costs. I was absolutely desperate and have no idea what I would have done without this help."
Tom Donnellan - Year 2000
Tom Donnellan's situation, at home caring for his dying wife, provided the impetus to create Light Relief.
Theatre lighting designer, production manager and technician, Tom was working all over Europe with numerous theatres when his wife, Elena, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. As her illness deteriorated, social services were unable to offer Tom any support, not even help at home, and eventually he had to remain at home, to care for Elena and look after their children (then aged 6 and 13).
In those days before Light Relief, Tom's friends and colleagues rallied round and funds were raised to help with the bills. The people that formed Light Relief subsequently helped with practical support by arranging for Tom to get a free copy of a computer-aided lighting design software package from Martin Professional. Two years after Elena's death, Tom was designing again, working at home and keeping in touch with clients by email.