A Fond Farewell – Liz, A Friend to All In Lighting
Chris Fordham writes:
You are at an event where you do not know anyone, have so far managed to avoid making yourself look too much like an ignoramus, but you suspect that eventuality is only a conversation away. In short you are feeling uncomfortable and a little out of your depth. Then over the clamour you pick up on someone talking about Leeds United and laughing mightily; the voice you recognise is Liz Peck, and as you wander over to meet her you feel a sense of happiness, because Liz is the sort of clever, friendly person who can instantly make you feel at ease; a refreshingly straight talker whose very presence bowls pretentious sentiments out the door, into a cab, and straight back home for some navel gazing.
After hearing the sad news of Liz Peck’s passing my first thought was of her as a person, my second was that of her work. My reason to become a designer (and journalist) was because I wanted to create something tangible, something lasting. Even if people did not agree or like the work, at the very least it would create a reaction. Every time anyone walks on the Iron Bridge, that’s Liz. Every time people mention The Night of Heritage Lighting in 2015, and past presidents of the SLL that’s Liz. The gusto with which she applied herself to these and other amazing projects, the way she managed to gather people around her in these ventures, is really a testament to her as a person, and a great way to be remembered.
Sometimes life is strange; we wait until someone has passed before acknowledging how much we fully appreciated them. I am guilty of this and even though I try not to, as an agnostic I really have no excuse. Liz reminds us of the fragility of life and now makes me even more inclined to tell people if they have a positive impact on my existence.
The following thoughts are from people who knew Liz better than I, and were kind enough to share their memories. We’ll keep this article open for anyone else who’d like to add their own memories. Contact us at The Light Review (contact details at foot of the page) and we can keep the flame of memory alive.
Simon Fisher – fmarkltd
I first met Liz in 1999, when we both worked for Concord Lighting, in East Sussex.
Her willingness to learn and capacity to absorb information meant that she very quickly became a highly valued member of the Concord team and it became increasingly clear that she was destined for far greater things than manning the Technical hotline in Newhaven!
Her experience and passion for the lighting industry has seen her associated with major works which have been highly publicised and award winning, such as the lighting of Dover Castle and with other valuable projects, like Bob the long term ecological work she undertook studying the effect of artificial light on bat populations
Her association with the SLL was huge and resulted in what will be my most enduring memory of Liz. The day that Liz phoned me to pitch Night of Heritage Light was a point in time which will stay with me forever.
To work with Liz on this project was truly inspiring. She had vision. She had ability. She was driven. She was selfless, but not without self-doubt. She was committed. She didn’t suffer fools. She never entertained regret. She inspired designers and manufacturers to come together and create something exquisite.
For a brief moment in time in 2015, Liz made the impossible possible and it was such a privilege to be part of it. Night of Heritage Light (NoHL) was one of the most audacious projects ever conceived will remain unparalleled in my view.
A friendship was strengthened during NoHL which remained. I dearly wish it could continue. I will miss her witty commentary on both lighting and sport on social media. I will miss dropping in for a coffee whenever I visited my sister. I will simply miss her. Rest in peace, Liz.
Bob Bohannon – luxrapide
I have lost a dear friend and invaluable colleague, but the wider loss to our industry and profession becomes more visible every day since the sad news of her passing broke; the sheer number of stories from people who benefitted from her advice, kindness, mentoring or who simply received a push to volunteer is astonishing. Liz was a genius at reaching out to people, making them part of a team, getting them to volunteer for the Society of Light and Lighting or deliver what we needed on a project. The SLL was Liz’s passion and her life’s work, she is hugely responsible for building the team who made the Society as relevant and successful as it now is.
If there is one truly amazing project that we should remember her by it is The Night of Heritage Lighting in 2015, she first had the vision and then put in place the volunteers who lit Edinburgh Old and New Towns, Fountains Abbey, Liverpool Maritime, The Iron Bridge at Telford, Blenheim Palace, Blaenavon, The Jurassic Coast and The Giant’s Causeway. It was a truly outstanding achievement.
We worked together on that most challenging of projects, the Iron Bridge at Telford, but she suffered ill health since early 2020 and was in fact rushed into hospital on the night that we won the Lighting Award, a win that she described in her own words as simply ‘blown away’. It was a fitting tribute to someone who gave so much, but was taken from us too early.
Mike Simpson – Signify
My first encounter with Liz was when she arrived in the design office for Concord-Marlin to be considered as a new lighting Designer, having been working on the sales desk. As I soon found out, Liz liked a challenge and both developing a knowledge of lighting design as well as commuting from Newhaven to Feltham were just to be taken in her stride. Liz soon became a competent member of the team and her next challenge was to take on the UCL Masters. She was never afraid to ask why? Whether it was why to understand something or why to challenge the way something was done.
We both worked again together at Philips and she began to take her place in the broader world of SLL and its activities. She loved her job and the people she worked with and soon received the recognition within the profession she deserved. However, my one lasting memory of Liz will be at the end of a long business conference day when she could be seen charging around the field in a ‘friendly’ inter-team match of football!
Jon Estell – RIDI Group
We need more people like Liz Peck in this world. She was kind, trustworthy, loyal, sincere, a constant in a madly changing world. And she was always giving without a hint of ego. Liz and I worked at Concord in what are often called the ‘glory days’ when the great and sorely missed Design Director, Janet Turner, tirelessly championed lighting design which back in the late 90’s was hardly recognised. Janet’s influence resonated with us both (we spoke about it often) and was manifest in Liz’ passion for lighting and her desire to better educate the world in best practice for lighting design. Liz always talked with pride about her work for the Society of Light and Lighting. She also talked with real knowledge and enthusiasm about Football!
But above all she had a warmth that endeared many. Ask anyone in the lighting industry and I doubt they will not have heard of Liz Peck. She made friends easily and talked with enthusiasm and spirit. She likened the lighting industry to a family. And when a family loses a loved one we mourn their passing but celebrate their impact on our lives. Perhaps my favourite memory of Liz more recently was when she greeted Simon Fisher and I in Shrewsbury with an incredibly generous cheque for a Lands end to John O’groats charity bike ride Simon and I were undertaking as the ‘Lightly Lads’. The lighting community were incredibly supportive and Liz was instrumental in promoting the cause. She wanted to hand over the cheque in person and was absolutely glowing with pride. The beaming smile she had when presented with a sponsors jersey with ‘LPA Lighting’ on the front was the first photograph I looked at when I heard of her passing. Light up Heaven Liz. x