Jules Lewis pays tribute to a late friend whose wishes were granted thanks to an internet campaign
Mark ‘Houndy’ Gunther was a long-time Walthamstow resident and well-loved man. He absolutely adored Elvis (hence the nickname ‘Hound Dog’, which he gave himself, and later ‘Houndy’, given him by a longtime friend). He also loved Star Wars, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and anything pertaining to the 1950s.
In December Houndy found out he had cancer, and soon after was informed that it was terminal. He wrote a short bucket list, including two wishes. The first was to meet as many actors who portrayed Doctor Who as possible, and the second was a walk through the Millennium Falcon. The latter of these soon became amended simply to viewing the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. Houndy’s closest friends rallied together around a hashtag campaign called #HelpHoundy, to help him achieve his wishes.
Not long after #HelpHoundy began, former Doctor Who actor Sir Tom Baker sent a handwritten card. With the assistance of Lisa Bowerman and Georgia Tennant, videos were produced by other actors who portrayed the character, including Peter Davison and David Tennant. Peter’s video included himself and Billie Piper (who played assistant ‘Rose’) and Jenna Coleman (Houndy’s favourite Dr Who companion, ‘Clara’). Other companions ‘Peri’ (Nicola Bryant), ‘Polly’ (Anneke Wills), ‘Steven’ (Peter Purves), and ‘Leela’ (Louise Jameson) sent well wishes.
Meanwhile, Torchwood cast members John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Kai Owens, and Star Trek‘s own Jeri Ryan, tweeted messages to #Houndy; as did Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast members Anthony Head, Juliet Landau, Fab Fillipo, D B Woodside and Chase Masterson, plus Game of Thrones cast member Daniel Portman.
Eventually long-time friend Alison Smith managed, through Disney UK, to set up a home screening of Star Force: The Force Awakens.
There were well wishes from all over the globe.
Through love, and the devotion of friends, our Houndy not only came to see his bucket list fulfilled, but also became know all over the world, or as we ‘Whovians’ say, “all over the universe”.
Houndy passed away on 1st February. He will always be in our hearts.