November 18th 2006
The Inaugural Scott Hampton Commemorative Evening

Click here for photos of the evening

It was a night that will stay in the memories of those who were there for a very long time. A year to the day since we lost Scotty, more than seventy of his friends and family gathered at LAMDA’s MacOwan Theatre to remember and celebrate his life and to raise money for the foundation that has been set up in his name.

The evening began with drinks in the foyer and a chance for everyone to catch up with friends not seen for years. For those of us who went to LAMDA with Scotty it was especially poignant as it was the largest gathering of our year since the last day of college in 1997! It was truly amazing to see so many people, many of whom had come a long way to be there - Pete and Jo from Wales, Gerry from Sheffield, Maddy from Yorkshire, Robbie from Scotland, Mikey from Budapest, Adrian and Annemarie from New York and Hugo from another planet to name but a few. I know they would not have missed it for the world.

The entertainment part of the evening was split into two halves. Firstly we, his friends, told the story of his life by means of a narration and anecdotes from friends both present and abroad and then we saw the man himself in a film specially and lovingly put together by his dad Wade. This was topped and tailed by songs from Scotty’s godmother Angela Richards with guitar accompaniment from Silv (Gerry Fletcher). At the back of the stage, Christian Malcolm had produced revolving photos of Scotty which were projected on to a screen.

Angela kicked off the evening with a hilarious send up version of Sondheim’s “The Girl From” which set the perfect tone for the evening and had everybody laughing along. Then I got up to start the narration which was punctuated by stories about Scotty. His old tennis pal Mike Hayward was first up recalling their trip to France as teenagers playing the tennis circuit. Despite telling me beforehand that he was a bit nervous, once Mike started he got on a bit of a roll and I didn’t think he was ever going to end! It was a great story that summed Scotty up to a tee – the two of them setting up camp in a field in France, falling asleep, waking up thinking that they were going to miss their match, hurriedly packing their tent, trying to pay a perplexed French campsite owner and setting off in their clapped out old banger only to discover after an hour or so that they had only slept for a couple of hours and that it was still the evening of the day before!!! Brilliant!

Lee Ingleby then read out a story sent by Scotty’s best friend Paul Taboure who lives in Australia. This was a fantastic story about the two of them going to The Royal Court Theatre one evening. Just before curtain up and as they were getting into their seats, Scotty saw a man in the row behind bending over to pick up his programme. Obviously, being Scott, he could not resist it. He whacked the blokes arse with all his might, so hard that that the crack resounded around the auditorium, and then sat down quick as a flash leaving Paul standing there to take the blame. I could just see the two of them - literally crying with laughter for the whole performance.

Debbie Chazen then read out a very touching email sent by Scott’s great friend Rowena from LA and Emma Handy read out a tribute to Scotty sent by Lilikoi, his former girlfriend, which recalled lovely old memories of great times they shared. Thanks to Debs and Emma for their beautiful readings.

We then had Mr Peter Cooper recalling the first time he met Scott at the LAMDA audition. Like most of us, Pete’s first meeting with Scott was memorable. Pete was nervous as hell or “bricking it” as he put it about having to sing a song for the audition - until he started speaking to Scott.

“What are you singing then mate?” asked Pete.

“Well – my mate has just dictated me the words to this song.” (Scott pulls out scrunched up piece of paper). “We all live in a Yellow Submarine……….a yellow submarine……..a yellow submarine……………(turns paper over)…We all live in a yellow submarine…”

We later discovered that the audition panel stopped Scotty half way through telling him “just sing Happy Birthday”.

We then had what can only be described as “The Simpson Show”. Typically of Hugo he had absolutely no idea what he was going to talk about until he got onto the stage. What followed was ten minutes of the funniest stand-up you could wish to see. He talked about the special relationship he shared with Scotty and some of the hilarious moments they shared at LAMDA. For those of you who were not there it is difficult to describe how funny it was as it was all in the delivery. All I can say is that Scott would have been weeping with laughter. Scotty and Hugo had their difficult times at LAMDA but they laughed their way through the three years and forged a bond that was never broken.

I then told the story of our disastrous attempt to pass our basic level fight exam in which a virtually blind me accidentally punched Scotty full in the face causing a proper sweat fight to break out and which led to us becoming the first people in 25 years at LAMDA to fail the exam. How very clever of us.

It was lovely to see three of our teachers there – Rodney Cottier, Peter James and Colin Cook. Although we were rascals we did have a life-changing experience there and I know that Scotty looked back on those times with fondness.

I then read out a very moving letter which had been written by Scotty’s little niece Olivia in which she told of how much she missed the uncle who would always make her laugh. Silv followed with a story and a beautiful poem sent by Scotty’s long time great friend Paul Blackthorne who was filming in Canada. The story told of Paul’s favourite phone calls – the “I’m back” calls he would get whenever Scott returned from abroad. His poem was about an imagined holiday the two of them never got to have but always talked about. It spoke of Scotty’s favourite place, Corsica, and Paul’s recent visit there that had inspired the poem.

After a break we gathered again to watch Wade’s tribute to his son. It was simply one of the most moving pieces of film you could see. At times tender, hilarious, heartbreaking and then hilarious again. I found myself crying with laughter one minute, crying with sadness the next. It showed Scott to be what he was. A star that burned brightly and intensely and who lit up the lives of those he touched. It was as though Scott was back with us.

I do not know how Angela did it but somehow, as the film ended, she found the strength to sing “He Was Beautiful” by Stanley Myers. A truly beautiful rendition.

After some very moving words from Stephanie it was time for the raffle. It was here that I knew Scotty was present somehow as I managed to win for the first time in my life – not once but twice!! I am still enjoying that Harrods hamper. With the raffle, entry money and bar receipts we raised just on £2,000. A great team effort.

There are a lot of people without whom the night would not have been possible. Firstly all the staff at LAMDA, Sam from the Stage Managers course, the two actors who served us drinks all night, Matt Drury who set up the stage (he actually repainted it especially for us!) and of course Rodney who was wonderful and whose support is greatly appreciated. Jason Lawson (Ace) put the whole evening together, directing and shaping the entertainment – thank you for your vision. Christian worked his socks off to put together the photos and of course continues to update this fantastic website that he created. Jack Tanner kept us all fed with his delicious buffet, Steve Cribbett and Paul Taboure produced the programme and the T-Shirts which are superb and Willy Rycroft captured the whole night on camera – see the website for these. Thanks to you all. Thanks also to those who contributed raffle prizes: Karen Staples (Clarins Hamper), Steve Cribbett (his client Harrods donated a  Food Hamper), Jack Tanner  (Playstation/Games), Will Brenton(Creator of the Tweenies, tickets to the Family Show at Wembley), Headmasters Hair Voucher, and Sonia Friedman ,Producer, for two theatre tickets each to “Rock n Roll”, ”Donkey Years” and ”Love Song.” Thanks also to Annemarie Hampton for selling the T-Shirts, Jenny Irving and Wendy Dear for selling raffle tickets and Theo Kiakides for collecting entrance fees. Lastly thank you to all those who contributed stories, readings, poems and songs – Paul Taboure, Paul Blackthorne, Lili, Rowena, Tish, Olivia, Emma, Debs, Lee, Hugo, Mike, Pete, Angela and Silv. Also a special thanks to Catriona Morrison who, though unable to be there, dedicated her play that night to Scotty.

It truly was a special night for a special person and one which we hope will become an annual event. Please keep checking the website for further news on upcoming events and see you all again next year!

The Foundation is now officially a Charity: The Scott Hampton Foundation for Burkitt's Research. Special thanks to James and Lucy Ward who spent many hours of their time helping the Hampton family to achieve this.