Melanie Oakley-Dow, LES MISERABLES' long-serving head of wigs, died on December 27 following a long illness.
She had been with the show since its inception, and inspired the now-annual fundraising football match between the casts of Les Mis and Phantom.
Christopher Key, Les Mis's resident director and the driving force behind the charity match, writes:
The death of Melanie is a massive loss to LES MISERABLES. Her bubbly and infectious personality will be greatly missed, not only in the wig department, but in the entire building. The tributes I have read on social networking sites demonstrate the massive affection that all who stepped into the LES MISERABLES wig room felt for her. Having been involved in Les MIs for 28 years, she was a massive part of the institution and is remembered fondly by old and new casts alike.
Having known Melanie for 11 years, I have watched her battle cancer over the last decade, beating it at times, only for it to resurface. Her strength, courage and bravery, and the fact that you never heard her complain, were an inspiration to us all. I know she has also been a massive help to others who have suffered with the disease, or whose family members have suffered. I felt so helpless as she fought on, and this is why Les Mis V Phantom was born. It is a tribute to Mel that her strength and courage has helped raise over £30,000 for charity so far.
My thoughts go out to her husband, Adrian, and daughter, Florence. She will be sorely missed but certainly never forgotten.