Anniversary of TV presenter's death
Josie Hinton A YEAR on from the tragic death of St John s Wood TV presenter Mark Speight, his father has travelled to London to honour his memory. Oliver Speight, father of the late television star, travelled to the capital with his family to mark the ann
A YEAR on from the tragic death of St John's Wood TV presenter Mark Speight, his father has travelled to London to honour his memory.
Oliver Speight, father of the late television star, travelled to the capital with his family to mark the anniversary by hosting a workshop for charity Speight of The Art.
It was launched last year by the family to promote young people's involvement in art, after the tragic death of the 42-year-old BBC presenter.
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Mr Speight said the public's shock reaction to the death inspired him to found the organisation to help Marks' passion for art live on.
Speaking on the anniversary of his son's death on Tuesday, Mr Speight said the past year had been extraordinary. "It's been one of those wonderful years in an odd sort of way because it has given me a great sense of purpose in life," he said.
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"From the moment that I knew Mark was dead I realised that this energy couldn't be allowed to die. The 26,000 emails that we received from the BBC from his fans told me that.
"I never thought that the death of my son would fill my life with so much purpose. To realise and experience the love of those children who adored Mark, the man and the performer, is a lesson in humility.
"I understand now my future role in life is to fulfil his legacy and to be able to pass on to the children of the UK an opportunity to realise their artistic dreams. To that end, the foundation and myself individually are totally committed."
The much-loved TV personality, who presented the Smart art show for children, hanged himself in office buildings next to Paddington station on April 7 last year, following the death of his fiancee Natasha Collins three months earlier. Following his death, tributes flooded in to the BBC from devastated fans.
Speight of the Art runs workshops with schools, councils and voluntary organisations to seek out artistic talent in children aged four to 18.
Since launching last year, the charity has grown rapidly, and now works with children across the United Kingdom.
Speaking at the anniversary workshop in Kensington, Martin Murphy, London coordinator of the foundation, said he was delighted to see so many children having fun with art.
"It's going very well indeed," he said. "We've just shown the children a video of Mark Speight presenting Smart, and they all remember him very fondly.
"We're trying to embody the spirit of Mark in his art show, and his engaging, non-curriculum based art. Their heads are all down and they are happily scribbling. They are loving every moment.