Demeyere fund donation helps Lighthouse grow

The marquee welcoming visitors to Lighthouse Festival Theatre shines brightly thanks to the support of community partners like the Demeyere family and the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Doug and Starr Demeyere were civic-minded residents who gave back to many good causes around Norfolk County. After their untimely passing in 2015, the Doug and Starr Demeyere Fund was created to continue the couple’s legacy of community service. The Demeyere children advise the Norfolk Community Foundation as to how the fund’s proceeds should be distributed each year in the form of grants to projects and organizations that benefit Norfolk County.

In honour of Doug and Starr, who were regular patrons at Lighthouse, the foundation committed $10,000 over four years in support of recent campaigns to redo the front entryway and replace all the theatre seats.

“Anything to do with the arts, my mom was big into,” Derek Demeyre said, adding that Starr brought the family to many Lighthouse performances and special events.

“Lighthouse was a real passion of hers,” he said.

Derek Demeyere and Norfolk Community Foundation grants chair Bruce Shoff walked through the new entryway and up into the theatre to present Lighthouse Festival Theatre Artistic Director Derek Ritschel and Executive Director Nicole Campbell with the donation from the Doug and Starr Demeyere Fund.

“It’s so inviting. Just beautiful,” Demeyere said of the renovations. “The support from the whole community is incredible.”

“When you look at what’s been achieved here and what the theatre contributes to the community, it’s amazing,” Shoff added.

Campbell said undertaking these two major projects would not have been possible without the support of community builders like the Demeyeres.

“We are so grateful to the Demeyere family and the Norfolk Community Foundation for helping us continue to bring live professional theatre to Port Dover and Norfolk County,” she said.

“Our goal is to champion Canadian theatre while being a gathering place for the community, and this generous donation helps make that possible. We are honoured to receive this gift in memory of Doug and Starr Demeyere, and we thank the family and the foundation for their continued support of Lighthouse Festival Theatre.”