Memories of Chris
Chris Rider 1983 – 2021
We’ve been collecting together some memories of our dear friend Chris Rider who died suddenly last month. He has been part of our charity from the very start and was well loved both for his gentle friendship and crazy sense of humour.
Here are some memories from some of the people who have worked with him over the years, and to start there is a beautiful poem by Daniel, a member of the Storm and Thunder Team and a trustee.
Chris, we remember you
Bursting into my hotel room after the night walk to pick me up for breakfast
Your love of music and your drumming
We will always remember you
And Heavenly Father we thank you for the life of Chris because he was special to everyone who knew him
Daniel also planted this lovely flower in his local community garden in memory of Chris.
Daniel’s beautiful poem captures so much of what I remember of Chris and how important he was to Gig Buddies and Stay Up Late all I want to add is how special it was being part of the planting which was such a lovely way of celebrating Chris’s life and what he meant to us all.
Chris used to love Gospeloke at the Komedia, once Chris got up and sang Uptown Funk (can you get a more difficult song?) with a gospel choir whilst I cowered in the corner hoping he would not try and get me on stage!
I did get to visit Chris during lockdown 2020 in his garden around his birthday and we had managed to meet up in Hove park a few times and played frisbee. On one summers day he turned up in a turkey hat!
Chris had a great sense of humour, he liked to tease gently. He loved animals. He had lots of ambitions to get his own place and develop his career.
Marie – Gig Buddy
Chris was such a wonderful, kind and gentle man and I am so pleased to have met him. He also had a great sense of humour- I remember when I told him my fear of spiders and so imagine my reaction when a few hours later I opened up a message from him and there was a photo of a giant tarantula covering the screen…!
He will be truly missed by everyone and sending lots of love to all that knew him x
Chris has been part of our charity from the very start and been involved in so much. I’ll always remember him for his jokes, his love of animals, his crazy hats but also for his kindness and thoughtfulness.
One of my memories of Chris was driving into the disabled campsite at Glastonbury early on the Monday morning to start getting ready to pack everything away and I spotted a road cone shaped hat sticking out of a sleeping bag by the campfire. It was Chris of course!
He’d decided to make the most of his last night at the festival by sitting by the fire and chatting with other festival goers and then staying up until morning.
Chris loved not just the spectacle of the festival but it also tapped in to his naturally social side, chatting with other people, the opportunity to be free and live how we wanted and of course wear funny hats. Although Chris never needed to use a festival as an excuse to do that!
“My best memory of Chris was when we all went to Glasto as a group. I do have a really good song that would help us remember Chris by. It’s called Dancing in the Sky.”
Chris, I will always remember dancing around at festivals and laughing until our bellies hurt together. Rest easy pal.
Chris really understood what Stay Up Late was all about, he was a great self advocate and advocate for other people with disabilities. He was a fantastic volunteer at our fundraising events at Cupani and will be sadly missed by us and his legion of friends. He turned washing up in our kitchen into a joy.
Aideen and Denis Jones – Cupani Garden
I had a lot of great times with Chris. I remember first meeting him he came with a turkey on his head and from this, I could tell he would be such a pleasure to be around. We would meet for ice cream to plan events, often eating way more than we should. One gig at The Haunt, seeing Cloud Nothings, we ended up in a mosh pit somehow. I had no idea how, but I remember seeing Chris jumping up and down with the biggest smile on his face. I loved the energy he would bring into other people’s lives, and I will miss his presence he made during his time.
I was devastated to hear about the loss of lovely Chris.
I think one of the memories that stands out is the sponsored bike ride we did from Bognor to Brighton – it’s the only time in my life I’ve done such a long cycle and that was because of Chris – he was really passionate about cycling and up for challenging himself and was completely the one who instigated this challenge. We had a lovely day in the sunshine chatting and laughing.
Of course, Chris’s practical jokes!!! That terrifying mask that he wore to Glasto and then became a regular feature.
His kindness – he was so kind and supportive of his friends of which he had many. I know he reached out to people during lockdowns, just to check in that they were okay.
And Chris’s hard work – he was such a dedicated office volunteer and I found it amazing how keen to help out he was!
It’s easy to see why Chris had so many friends. He was loyal and caring to everyone.
Although he might come across as quiet and in the background at times he always made a statement whether it was through his hats, masks bright drawings or drum beats.
He was so thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of others. He showed this in many ways like writing heartfelt messages and cards when we supported him at festivals or to thank us for taking him to events and expressing what it meant to him to be involved. During lockdown he regularly got in touch to see how I was coping.
I first properly got to know Chris when he got on a 10 hour minibus trip to Belgium with a bongo! As if it wasn’t memorable enough sleeping in army barracks I then watched Chris drum with friends from stay up late on stage at a festival in front of 5,000 people and saw what a talented drummer he was.
It’s hard to imagine not seeing Chris as he was so involved in everything we did – from being in the storm and thunder advisory group for many years, volunteering in the office, DJ-ing at events and always helping out in some way. Perhaps like many other people I will remember him most for his comedy hats for all times of year. It was useful at many a festival but especially when he wandered off in the crowd at Glastonbury to find a loo without telling us- but his traffic cone hat could be seen above the door!
I am grateful that despite the sadness that his life was so sadly cut short, we were the lucky ones to get to have so much fun with him and create so many stand out memories.
Chris worked for Gig Buddies as an office volunteer since the beginning of the project. We really enjoyed the last Friday of the month when we needed to send out the newsletters. This was quite a long task so to make it more fun Chris would bring in all his dance and garage cds and DJ for the afternoon to get us through!
I also remember a long trip to Latitude festival where we sang along to old skool dance classics the whole way!
Chris loved to dress up, particularly wearing scary masks! We once travelled on the bus together to meet the rest of the team for a charity night walk, he wore his scary old lady mask on the whole bus ride (no one questioned him!) and in the train station whilst we waited for everyone else, just standing behind people until they turned around and jumped!
Chris brought a lot of fun to Gig Buddies and his positive energy will be missed – he involved himself in everything we did and was a real credit to the message of Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies.
He was the heart and soul of Gig Buddies and I think we should celebrate him by having a 90s party!
Chris Rider 1983 – 2021