As you will have noticed with our social media posts, articles and podcasts we, along with a lot of Australian phans, are excited at the moment with our annual pilgrimage to Sydney in the middle of June coming soon.
Unfortunately one of the phans behind this great weekend Richard Fry has suddenly passed away. We wanted to reflect on his legacy with our hero in this article.
Richard Fry, Antonio Di Dio and a few others were behind the Lee Falk Memorial Bangalla Explorers Club events that have been held since 30th April 1999. This is when a group of Phantom devotees first gathered at the Waterfront Restaurant situated in the historic Rocks area nestled under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Their initial purpose was to mourn the death of Lee Falk and to celebrate his great creation, which they did in great style.
However over the years it also became a fundraising event, with monies raised from donated Phantom items being auctioned off in support of the Westmead Children's Hospital. Well over a hundred thousand dollars has been raised for this very worthy cause over the years, which has always been gratefully received. Indeed, in one of his last ever emails to the LFMBEC mailing list sent only last week, Richard poignantly shared a message of gratitude and support from the Relationships Manager at Westmead.
Due to the success of the evening, both socially and philanthropically, it has been held every year since - even sometimes multiple times a year. This years dinner will be number 34.
You can find out more about the event at their website www.LFMBEC.org.
Richard Fry is the reason why these dinners have been so successful, spending many an extra hour, his own money and much dedication organising phans to get together. Personally, we have been able to get to several of the dinners and enjoyed every single one. These dinners and the LFMBEC club has been so successful that there is even a Scandinavian chapter who also have their own regular get togethers celebrating Lee Falk and the Phantom.
Richard was a silent giant to the Phantom's community and will be greatly missed. Every phan who has attended these events have much to be grateful for his input to the legacy of the Phantom overall and especially in Australia.
Of course, Richard was much more than just a Phantom phan! He was first and most importantly a husband, father, family member and a very much loved teacher to many a student over his decades in the education department.
Some phans have contacted us asking if the annual fundraising dinner will still be going ahead after this turn of events? The short answer is yes.
In an email confirmed by Bradley and Joyful Peach, this years dinner #34 will be going ahead and it will double as a tribute and memorial not only to Lee Falk and more recently Jim Shepherd as in previous years, but now also to Richard Fry - a giant in the Phantom community.
Please contact us, if you would like Bradley and Joyful Peach's email.
As a collective, the team at Chronicle Chamber and the wider Phantom community thanks Richard Fry for his contribution as a phan and these amazing dinners. May he Rest In Peace and our thoughts and prayers go to his family in this time of reflection.