Juliet Crawley Peck’s creative response to tragedy led to one of her greatest achievements. After her second husband, freelance cameraman Rory Peck, was killed in crossfire during the October 1993 uprising in Moscow, Juliet was left to pick up the pieces as best she could. Suffering from eye cancer and bringing up two children alone, she got together with Rory’s close friends John Gunston and Tira Shubart and, gently but firmly, they began to bully the broadcasting industry into recognising its responsibilities for the freelances whose pictures and stories made up such a huge part of their news programming.
In 1995, they established the charity, The Rory Peck Award and Trust. The trust was to be more than a memorial to a great cameraman. It was to recognise and honour all freelance cameramen, no matter where, by presenting an annual Rory Peck Award, and to help the families of those who had been killed by raising funds to assist them.
Practical as well as idealistic, Juliet approached equipment giant Sony and succeeded in getting the financial support necessary to sponsor the award. The relationship she established with Sony continues to this day. Juliet remained a willing fundraiser and a firm supporter of The Rory Peck Trust as it developed its charitable work and grew into an internationally recognised organisation. Always a striking public speaker, Juliet powerfully launched the trust’s first national fundraiser, the BBC Lifeline Appeal, at the Rory Peck Awards ceremony in November 2005. This ceremony was always close to her heart and, every year without fail, she would write a personal letter of congratulation to each of the winners.
Juliet Crawley Peck had a need – and a vision. As a result, newsgathering organisations are becoming more aware of their responsibilities, and freelances and their families all over the world are benefiting from help they would not otherwise receive.
Tina Carr director, Rory Peck Trus