Tribute paid to ‘great friend’ of Blackfriars following death

Richard Laight, pictured at the launch of his charity calendar in December, with his wife Lindy and children Georgina, Vicki and Sami. Picture: Neil Watson

Richard Laight, pictured at the launch of his charity calendar in December, with his wife Lindy and children Georgina, Vicki and Sami. Picture: Neil Watson

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Tribute has been paid to a dedicated and long-standing supporter of Boston’s Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre who has died following a brave battle with cancer.

Blackfriars announced today (Monday, September 5) with ‘great sadness and heavy hearts’ the death of Richard Laight, of Boston.

Richard, a husband and father-of-three, passed away on Friday.

In a statement released this morning, Blackfriars chairman Stuart Bull said: “Richard was a director of Blackfriars Theatre, taking responsibility for health and safety in the theatre in the past few years.

“His knowledge of Blackfriars was extensive – he first performed in Blackfriars as a child, and had been an active member of BOS Musical Theatre Group for 20 years, taking both principal and chorus parts. He directed and produced several successful shows with them, including Annie, Oliver and Miracle on 34th Street.

“His production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way ...” was nominated for a NODA Award. He also trod the boards with Playgoers, and was in the occasional ‘Blackfriars’ production such as Corpus Castle. He made a very good dame in panto. In addition he was a skilled setbuilder, had extensive knowledge of sound and lighting, and was an efficient stage manager and backstage hand. In other words he had a passion for all aspects of theatre.”

In his last year, Richard decided to raise funds for two charities close to his heart - Macmillan Cancer Support and the Blackfriars Trust.

“In this,” Mr Bull continued, “as in most things that he did, his enthusiasm and drive led to great success, and he raised several thousand pounds for each cause with his calendars, his golf, his concert and just simply rattling his can in people’s faces – all of this while suffering a terminal illness.

“He was philosophical about dying, though not without regrets, and I am sure he would want me to say to every youngster who reads this – please don’t smoke.

“There was one thing he loved more than the theatre, and that was his family. His beloved Lindy, and his harem of daughters were his pride and his joy, and the satisfaction the he had in seeing his girls settle down with good husbands, and starting families of their own, meant everything to him. Our love and sympathy go to them.

“Richard was still a relatively young man who still had a lot to give, and Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre has lost a great friend.”

Tribute to Richard has also come from Boston Town, where Richard had been a resident DJ for many years.

A spokesman for the club said: “Richard was an inspirational and courageous man and Boston Town would like to pass on our condolences to his family.”