Motor Neurone Disease: Legacy of Calderdale dad and rugby player Nick Smith as charity closes with message of thanks

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A charity founded in memory of a dad-of-two from Lightcliffe who died from motor neurone disease (MND) is ending its work having raised nearly £200,000.

The Nick Smith Foundation was set up when Nick, aged 38, died just 101 days after being diagnosed five years ago.

Since being founded in May 2018, the charity has raised almost £200,000 for research into the disease, support for children facing bereavement of a parent, and encouraging young people to take up and play rugby league.

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It is now bringing its work to an end with a thank you to every person who has been part of the charity’s journey and a celebration of what has been achieved in Nick’s memory.

Nick with his wife Rachel and children Hadyn and GeorgiaNick with his wife Rachel and children Hadyn and Georgia
Nick with his wife Rachel and children Hadyn and Georgia

Among the charity’s achievements which will ensure there is a lasting legacy are memory and treasure boxes supporting children and families who have been devastated by a diagnosis of MND.

There is also now a permanent MND care coordinator for Calderdale and Huddersfield, employed and funded now by the NHS following the foundation’s investment in a successful pilot.

And the charity has invested in an annual U7s rugby league tournament to encourage more youngsters to get involved in the sport in honour of Nick’s passion for the game.

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He played with Siddal ARLFC from the age of eight, making 400 appearances for the team, and played professionally when younger with both Leeds Rhinos Academy and Sheffield Eagles before embarking on a career as an accountant.

Nick’s wife Rachel said: “We wanted to create a charity that made a difference in Nick’s memory and left a legacy fitting of the amazing man he was, and will always be. We are confident and thankful we have done that.

“From me, to absolutely everyone who has been part of our charity’s journey, thank you.”

Stephen Naylor, Nick’s brother-in-law and chair of The Nick Smith Foundation, added: “Everything we have done is thanks to our supporters and I want to thank them for giving their time, their energy and their incredible efforts.

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"The money raised has made a huge difference already and is changing, and improving, lives. We are confident that will continue - it is an incredible and a fitting legacy.

“From us all, thank you – from the bottom of our hearts”