on the set of STAY AWHILE - 2005
Ferknerkle recently lost one of its core members when Tim Mitchell died at St Vincents Hospital, aged only 27.
Tim was a lovely young guy I first met when he enrolled in my acting class at Gala Studios in early 2001. Initially shy and unsure of himself Tim proved to be one of my most dedicated students ever. During the two years of his course I doubt he missed more than a couple of classes and was almost invariably the first to either have his lines down when we were working on a script or jump up to volunteer for an impro exercise. After he completed his course in late 2003 I invited him to come along to Ferknerkleís Impro Workshop as I felt he would gain tremendously if he now worked with more skilled and experienced people.
He took to the new group like a fish to water and quickly won the affection of all concerned. Tim was memorably hilarious in our 2005 Short And Sweet offering Itís Not You and was about to shoot his first role in a short film for us Ė Therapy - (after helping out behind the camera on Stay Awhile) when he was admitted to St Vincents, on Saturday 23rd July, with what were diagnosed as lesions on the brain.
I visited him the following Thursday and he was as friendly, talkative and positive as ever. The following day he was to undergo a biopsy on the lesions but he had an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic and suffered an anaphylactic fit. The fit left him paralysed down the right half of his body and adversely affected his sight. He could not talk because he was breathing through a tube that had been inserted into his throat. But he could communicate using an alphabet board. Although obviously in serious trouble Tim seemed as happy-go-lucky as ever, even making jokes at his own expense. Timís amazing family arrived from New Zealand to support him and it was truly inspirational watching Linda and Noel, Timís Mum and Dad, attend to their son while treating his visitors as though we were long-lost family members ourselves. Considering we were visiting a friend who could not verbally respond to us, and who quickly lost the ability to use the alphabet board, it would have been unbearably difficult trying to communicate with Tim if his parents hadnít taken control of the situation and asked questions that Tim could listen to us answering. Several of us were able to visit Tim over the next four weeks and various cards, flowers and gifts also arrived from Ferknerkle members.
But Tim went rapidly downhill. Linda and Noel explored the prospect of taking him back home but before they could put this plan into action he died, peacefully, at 6.30 am on Saturday 20th August. Shock waves rolled around the world of Ferk. Many of us could not believe that anything like this could happen to a young and apparently healthy guy. What an injustice! But Tim, who was a Christian, had made his peace with his God and seemed to accept the fate that had been handed him. Tim was beloved by many, if the (literally) hundreds who turned up for his memorial service the following Thursday at St Barnabas, Broadway are anything to go by, and will be sadly missed by his Ferknerkle friends.
Fortunately, Tim, who was
also an artist and musician, had designed a logo for Ferknerkle Productions and,
with the blessings of his family, we are in a position to continue his close
association with the group by employing Timís art to identify our work.