Following a generous donation from Electronic Theatre Controls Inc., the stage lighting manufacturer has been invited to become Light Relief’s founding corporate patron.

“Fred Foster (ETC president) approached me on the subject at Showlight 2001 in Edinburgh at the end of May,” says Tony Gottelier, one of Light Relief’s founders. “Actually, he rather shyly pressed his business card into my hand, on the back of which he had written an IOU. I was completely blown away!”

A Light Relief corporate patron is a business that promises a substantial sum to the fund for multiple years, as compared to a regular corporate donor, who commits to a one-time payment. “Fred was not keen to make the donation public, until I persuaded him that it would help to attract others,” adds Gottelier.

Light Relief is the fund set up in association with PLASA and the ALD (Association of Lighting Designers) to aid freelance lighting designers and associated lighting people when they get overrun by personal disasters in their professional lives. “Recently, there have been some pretty ghastly examples of things that can befall people,” says LD Rick Fisher, who is the ALD chairman. “Light Relief sets out to bring some comfort to those in our business when they find themselves in such circumstances.”

Foster had already made a contribution to the ongoing fund-raising effort for Light Relief during Showlight 2001, when he agreed to wear a kilt for an entire day of the conference, provided sufficient money could be raised in sponsorship. The target was exceeded, and the tartan was duly donned the following day. “I think it such a worthwhile cause. After all, these guys are our ultimate customers,” says Foster. I was proud to wear the kilt for Light Relief and I encourage others to follow suit. Not that they have to dress up, or make fools of themselves, to give their support to the fund,” he adds lightheartedly.

Contact Light Relief at 1a Langton Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8XA. Phone is 01892 522 626, fax is 01892 522 727, and e-mail is lightrelief@wwg.co.uk.