Scholarship set up in memory of West Hampstead actor found dead in woods
PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 August 2013
Richard Gent was a young TV actor who had appeared in programmes such as Casualty, Teachers, Mistresses and Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood.
In April last year, the 27-year-old disappeared from his home in Ravenshaw Road, West Hampstead.
Fifteen months later his dead body was discovered in woodland near his home, off Claremont Road, Cricklewood.
His relatives say it appears he had taken his own life shortly after going missing, having faced financial problems in the months leading up to his death.
Now his family and friends have launched a scholarship in his name at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in Barons Court, to help other young actors achieve their ambitions.
His mother, Alison Gent, 53, said: “Rich would love to see this scholarship created in his name to help other young actors who might also struggle financially.
“We all know how much hard graft there is in the acting world and maybe this LAMDA scholarship can lend a hand with that.”
Richard had moved to London from his family home in Chippenham, Wiltshire, to pursue an acting career three years ago.
His mother said her son worked in a call centre to support his acting career in the months leading up to his death and she had tried to persuade him to move back home.
When his body was discovered on July 2 this year Mrs Gent said he was finally “at peace”.
She said: “After the funeral last month in his home town of Chippenham, it really helps the pain of missing him to hear how many people enjoyed working with him in all his London theatres.
“We’ve had so many of his fellow actors get in touch to say how much they will miss working with him, and it’s been really nice to hear.
“He loved living in West Hampstead and being able to see all the plays and shows coming up, and auditioning for different types of roles.”
Richard’s friend, Nina Romain, 42, is helping the family to create the scholarship which has a fundraising target of £3,000.
She said: “We chose LAMDA because it’s a world-renowned theatrical academy. At the moment we’re asking friends and family to donate to our JustGiving page and as soon as we have enough, we’ll be able to launch the scholarship or give the money to its general bursaries scheme.”
Principal Joanna Read said: “LAMDA believes the arts should be accessible to all and recruits purely on the basis of talent, regardless of background.
* To donate visit www.justgiving.com/RichardGent.