I guess it’s time to try to write the blog post I’ve been avoiding for most of a month now.
Chris Lightfoot was found dead in his Cambridge flat on February 11, 2007 after taking his own life, having battled with depression.
Whilst most people reading my blog won’t recognise his name, they may well know some of the things he did. Chris was a polymath, involved with both mySociety (of which I’m a director) and NO2ID (of which I’m a volunteer staff member). He put together some great websites and projects, a list of which doesn’t do him justice, but which includes:
- A searchable database of planning applications for his hometown of Cambridge;
- Shitloads of political stuff, including Political Survey, which I posted on this blog at least once;
- WriteToThem, the successor to FaxYourMP.com;
- PledgeBank, which addresses the prisoner’s dilemma for all sorts of social-good projects;
- HearFromYourMP, the logical opposite of WriteToThem;
- The Downing Street petitions site that’s been in the news recently;
- Gaze, mySociety’s Gazetteer web service;
- Neighbourhood Fix-it, a Google Maps-based project to alert local councils to things like broken streetlamps and so on;
- taking on the car lobby, not once or twice, but thrice;
- and one of my personal favourites, the travel-time maps, a mySociety project for the Department of Transport, showing proofs of concept for a mashup that maps the time it takes to travel to or from somewhere.
As Tom posted several years ago on VoxPolitics, Chris really was a “one-man think tank” and will be sorely missed — not just by those of us who knew him, but by British politics more generally.
The Internet was enriched by your presence, Chris, and is impoverished by your departure. Rest in Peace, friend.
Links to other obituaries include: