Charity calendar launched to ‘laugh in the face of cancer’

Richard (centre, holding calendar), at the launch event at Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre.
Richard (centre, holding calendar), at the launch event at Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre.
  • Calendar to raise funds for Boston’s Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre and Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Idea for fundraiser began as selfie from goddaughter to lift spirits of Boston man undergoing treatment for cancer
  • More than 100 people (and some animals) feature in calendar

A Boston man fighting cancer is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity through a calendar of ‘silly selfies’ of family, friends and even pets.

Richard Laight, 54, has launched the charity calendar, titled ‘I laugh in the face of cancer’, in support of Macmillan Cancer Support and Boston’s Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre.

Richard with his family at the launch at Blackfriars.

Richard with his family at the launch at Blackfriars.

It is made up of more than 100 ‘silly selfies’ sent to him on Facebook.

Richard, a father-of-three with three grandchildren, was diagnosed with cancer in October; he is currently being treated for the disease.

The idea for the calendar came about after Richard’s goddaughter, Jodie-May Ellis, sent him a photo of herself sending him a kiss to lift his spirits.

Richard posted it on Facebook (along with one of himself pulling a face), asking for more of what would become known as ‘silly selfies’ to cheer him up.

I think it’s quite fair to say Richard is one of the most positive people I have seen to deal with something like this.

The response was such that Richard suggested, with people’s permission, compiling them into a charity calendar. After this, he received more ‘silly selfies’ for the cause.

“It was organic, the way it evolved,” he said.

Richard, who thanks everyone who has contributed to the project, says he is hoping to raise about £2,000 for each of his chosen charities.

Macmillan has been supporting Richard and his family since his diagnosis, while Blackfriars has been a part of his life since the 1960/70s, when he performed there with the Allen School of Dance.

Up until last month, Richard had been involved in every Boston Operatic Society show since 1998 and has only recently stepped down from the board of directors in light of his illness.

He described the theatre as a passion of his.

“You can’t replace live entertainment with anything – not an XBox, not TV, not videos,” he said.

Overseeing the calendar project has been Rob Barclay, a board member at Blackfriars.

“I think it’s quite fair to say Richard is one of the most positive people I have seen to deal with something like this. I think rather than just sit and feel sorry for himself, he has been quite determined to do something positive,” he said. “It’s quite inspirational.”

Chris Cook Print and Office Supplies, in Main Ridge East, has supported the project, donating its time for free and printing the calendar at a reduced ‘cost only’ rate, meaning no profit is being taken.

‘I laugh in the face of cancer’ is priced at £5 and on sale at Blackfriars, in Spain Lane, Waterstones, in Wide Bargate, and The Eagle, in West Street.