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David Whitehead (1953–2013)

Erica Basnicki 19 February 2013
David Whitehead (1953–2013)

David Whitehead, founder and majority shareholder of Stage Electrics passed away suddenly on Monday 18 February after a courageous fight against cancer.   David was diagnosed with cancer 15 months ago and met the challenge of his illness with the same blend of determination and optimism that was his hallmark in business.   Since stepping down as managing director of Stage Electrics he has devoted time to ensuring a secure future for his company and its employees. His majority ownership passes to his family however David has made sure Stage Electrics is in safe hands with strong management in place led by managing director Dan Aldridge and chairman Trevor Smallwood.   David founded Stage Electrics in Exeter in 1979 and built the company into the nationwide multi discipline organisation it is today. Leading the company as managing director and owner for over 30 years he built the company’s reputation into one of the country’s largest and most experienced suppliers of entertainment technology.   David had a lifelong passion for the magic of theatre, as a school boy he was regularly to be found assisting at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. He went on to train professionally at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) before returning to the Northcott Theatre as a deputy chief electrician.   He worked there for several years prior to taking the decision to start Stage Electrics with his friend and subsequent business partner Maurice Marshal.   David would often say that the discipline repertory theatre taught him and the experience that being a Northcott “bro” gave him, stood him in good stead his whole life.   Having built Stage Electrics from the ground up David not only took an interest in all aspects of the business, but had actually done many of the roles within the organisation.   David was an extremely practical man and preferred to be at the sharp end rather than in the boardroom. He loved lighting design and was always keen to design a show when he could find the time between family life and work. In later years many local amateur societies and a number of schools were able to boast of a fairly heavy weight lighting design due to his input and enthusiasm. As an active member of his Church, David gave time and energy to numerous projects, the largest of which was masterminding the construction and fitting out of a new church hall.   David is survived by his wife Caroline and his children, Simon, Pollyanna, Jacob and Alexander. Stage Electrics represents his life’s work and is an achievement he and his family can be truly proud of.   Information regarding funeral arrangements will be published on when the family have finalised the details.  

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