Electronic Theatre Controls Inc. (ETC) of Middleton, WI, has become a founding corporate patron for Light Relief, the UK-based 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.

“[ETC president] Fred Foster 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 opposed 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.

“Recently, there have been some pretty ghastly examples of things that can befall people,” says Rick Fisher, leading lighting designer and 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 on-going 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. In the event 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.”