Remembering Lives Lost Throughout 2008
The death of popular children's television presenter Mark Speight prompted a huge outpouring of grief from fans on the memorial website www.lastingtribute.co.uk A tribute celebrating his life in words and pictures attracted more messages and images than that of any other famous person on the site during 2008.
On the site, more than 350 people posted messages of sympathy and memories about the 42-year-old broadcaster who committed suicide in April three months after the death of his fiancée Natasha Collins.
Mr Speight was best known for presenting the BBC's children's art television programme, SMart, and many of the people who paid tribute to him said he had inspired them to take up art.
Messages of sympathy have also flooded into Lasting Tribute following other notable celebrity deaths in 2008, including Pink Floyd founding member Richard Wright. More than 200 people have so far posted messages for the musician who died of cancer at the age of 65 in September.
With more than one million tributes online, Lasting Tribute is the UK's largest memorial website. The full top ten of Lasting Tribute celebrity tributes to get the most messages in 2008 so far is: 1. Mark Speight, 42, British childrens' TV presenter; 2. Richard Wright, 65, British musician (Pink Floyd); 3. Reg Varney, 92, British comedy actor (On the Buses); 4. Heath Ledger, 28, Australian Academy Award-nominated actor; 5. Craig Jones, 23, British motorcycle racer; 6. Levi Stubbs, 72, American vocalist (The Four Tops); 7. Clive Hornby, 63, British actor (Emmerdale); 8. Bernie Mac, 50, American comedian and actor; 9. Tommy Burns, 51, Scottish football player and manager; 10. Humphrey Lyttelton, 86, British jazz trumpeter and chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
A tribute from Daniel Wild about Mark Speight read: "You will be sorely missed by a generation of people who grew up with your enthusiastic style. You inspired thousands of us to explore the world of art. Thankyou for being such an amazing presenter."
One follower of Pink Floyd, Matt Charnley, from Melbourne, Australia, wrote: "Thank you for your contribution to the greatest band that has ever been. Your music has been like a friend to me for many years, & like a true friend you will be missed."
Managing director of Lasting Tribute, Elaine Pritchard, said: "Throughout 2008 we have seen growing numbers of visitors coming to the site to read and contribute to tributes started for their own families and friends as well as those for people in the public eye. This year we have lost a number of much-loved celebrities from the world of television, music, film and sport, but the ones that get the most messages left are not always the ones you would expect".
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