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AC-ET Mourns Kevin Fitz-Simons

9th January 2014

A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) Ltd. deeply regrets to inform the industry that beloved colleague, Kevin Fitz-Simons, passed away peacefully at home in the early hours of Tuesday 31st December 2013, aged 53.

As Northern Lighting Sales Manager for AC-ET's Leeds office, Kevin held an important senior role in the company. He was an extremely well liked and respected colleague, and a larger than life character.

Kevin was also very well known in the industry, with a diverse career spanning over 30 years. During this time, he built an incredible number of customer relationships and friendships.

After leaving St Francis Xavier’s College, Liverpool in 1978, it was whilst Kevin was studying for a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Newcastle that he caught the 'theatre bug'. This led to his decision to leave after two years to pursue a career in his newfound passion.

Kevin began his industry career in 1980, working as Assistant Electrician at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. He was subsequently promoted to Chief Electrician from 1982 to 1985. This varied role saw him designing shows and liaising with incoming companies & Lighting Designers.

For the next two years, Kevin decided to test his production skills as a Freelancer, touring the world in several Assistant Lighting Designer / Production Electrician roles for various international shows, followed by a spell working in the West End.

From 1987 to 1989, he worked with the Tyne Wear Theatre Company (at the Newcastle Playhouse & the Tyne Theatre), the National Youth Theatre of GB, Edinburgh International Festival, and the Northern Ballet Theatre.

Kevin then took up the prestigious position of Chief Electrician / Head of Lighting for the English Shakespeare Company, followed by the Opera North - touring one side of the world to the other over the next six years.

From 1994 to 1999, Kevin returned to education to study for an NVQ at Edge Hill University College. He then used his considerable industry experience to become a Lecturer in Stage Management at LAMDA and teach a Theatre Studies, Lighting & Production Management degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. At the same time, he undertook Production roles for various tours, shows and venues, including the West End and Liverpool Playhouse.

Kevin then spent three years working as Operations Manager at Playlight Hire in Manchester.

In October 2002 he joined A.C. Entertainment Technologies' Leeds office as Northern Sales Executive. Kevin became Office Manager in June 2009, and was then promoted again in November 2010 to Northern Lighting Sales Manager - a role he held until his passing. Kevin played a pivotal role in the growth, development and management of the A.C. North sales office over the years, and was a true team player with those colleagues and customers who had the pleasure of working with him.

A loving husband and father, in his spare time Kevin played Trombone ('very badly', to quote the humble gent himself) for his local brass band, the St. John's Mossley Band.

Jonathan Walters, UK Sales Director of AC-ET and founder of the company's Leeds office, comments: "On behalf of everyone at AC-ET, we would like to express our deep sorrow at the passing of our beloved colleague. We are all in a state of shock and devastated by Kevin's passing. He was a great friend and colleague, well loved by everyone and will be sorely missed. During his long career in our industry, he made many good friends along the way."

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family at this very difficult time.

On behalf of Kevin's family, we would like to thank the many industry colleagues who have left kind messages for him. As many of you have commented, the world has lost one of the good guys."

David Leggett, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of AC-ET, comments: "I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Kevin's family. I had the pleasure of working with him as a colleague over the last 11 years or so. He was a true gentleman, with a lovely temperament, and a larger than life personality. Kevin was massively respected and loved by everyone at AC-ET, and assisted many of our current Northern sales office staff with their career development. He will be sorely missed."

Kevin is survived by his wife, Jean and his two daughters, Shona and Kirsty. His family can be very proud of him - the incredible number of condolence messages received for him from so many of his industry colleagues and friends are a true measure of the lasting impact he made during his successful career.

Kevin's funeral service will be held at 12pm on Monday 20th January, at St. John's Church, Vicarage Drive, Dukinfield, Cheshire, SK16 5HZ. All friends and colleagues of Kevin are welcome to attend. Wearing Black is optional. Directions to the Church can be found on their website: www.stjohnsdukinfield.com

Please visit the AC-ET facebook page and click on the Kevin Fitz-Simons Funeral event post to confirm your attendance: www.facebook.com/acentertainmenttechnologies

Kevin's family have asked for flowers not to be sent. Instead, they would appreciate donations being made to a small number of charities they will nominate. Details of the charities will be confirmed very soon on the AC-ET Facebook page.