A charity set up in memory of a Calderdale dad-of-two who died from Motor Neurone Disease, leaving behind his wife and two young children, is aiming to improve the support available for families who face the same awful situation.
The Nick Smith Foundation, founded after Nick’s death in December 2017, is working with the Motor Neurone Disease Association to develop a Living With Box which can be used to make and store memories for those who are diagnosed with any terminal illness.
The two organisations hosted a workshop recently during the Pushing Up Daisies festival in Todmorden, aimed at sharing ideas for the personal pre-bereavement resource for children and families.
Called ‘What was Daddy’s Favourite Ice Cream’, a question asked by Nick’s children (aged 4 and 6) after his death, it focused on how best to remember the little things, questions which only a parent would know the answer to, and which their children would like to know in the future.
Stephen Naylor, Chair of the Nick Smith Foundation, said: “When Nick died at the age of 38, his two children Hadyn and Georgia were left without a father.
“The impact of that is felt every day but they want to remember their daddy, and we want to ensure others facing the same tragedy get more support to capture and store memories for the future.
“The ‘Living With’ Boxes aim to help children who are facing the death of a parent by creating lasting memories pre-bereavement and providing the resources to record these together.
“At a time when it can be hard to know where to turn for help, we hope the Box will give ideas to capture thoughts and moments so that when someone you love is no longer living, you’re still living with them.”
The workshop ended with those taking part being given vouchers from The Piece Hall’s ice cream parlour Blondin’s so they could discover what each other’s favourite ice cream flavour was.
Laura Willix, Children and Young People’s Service Development Manager at MND, added: “This session was a great opportunity for children, young people and families affected by MND, to come together to create personalised memories that will hopefully increase their emotional resilience.”
She added: “We hope that families will have had an opportunity to begin discussions about the benefits of memory making and have started to record some of the really important ‘little things’”
· a photograph of Nick with his wife Rachel and two children, Hadyn and Georgia
· a photograph of Rachel and Georgia at the PUD Workshop on Saturday 11 May