Crowdfunder launched to give the gift of memories this Christmas

A Yorkshire charity set up in memory of a 38-year-old dad of two who died from motor neurone disease is asking for support once more in 2021 to give children and young people facing the death of a parent or loved one from the condition the gift of memories this Christmas.

Nick Smith, from Halifax, was killed by the condition four years ago this month and the Foundation set up in his name launched boxes to create, capture and store memories 18 months ago. They have since helped dozens of young people at the worst possible time.

The charity is now being supported by the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund who will double every donation given before 6 January to a crowdfunding campaign to fund more memory boxes to help more families.

Donations can be made at and every penny will make a difference:

  • £5 would buy a memory jar to put in moments and facts to store
  • £10 would buy a teddy to cuddle and hold when comfort is needed
  • £25 would buy the complete box

Co-created with the MND Association, the interactive boxes include activities for families to help gather special memories, or bits of treasured information, so that moments and thoughts can be stored.

The simple aim is to help children and young people emotionally cope with some of the challenges they face and remember the parent, grandparent or loved one they have lost.

Every year, 2,000 people are diagnosed with MND, a rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal card. There is little treatment and no cure. A third of die within a year, and half within two years.

Stephen Naylor, Chair of The Nick Smith Foundation, said: 

“This time of year – the anniversary of Nick’s death – is always a difficult period but we are proud that other families facing the pain we have gone through are now able to access much-needed support with these beautiful and thought-provoking memory and treasure boxes.

“Developing them, we heard from children and young people about how anecdotes and sharing stories helped them connect to their family member with MND while they are still alive. And, after death, something as simple as seeing their loved one’s handwriting can help retain that connection.

“When Nick was diagnosed, knowing what to do to ensure his young children, Hadyn and Georgia, remembered him was difficult. That is why this project is so important to us. We wanted there to be something that we wish we had before Nick died.

“Everyone who has supported our charity has made them happen, but we want to make sure we can help more children by funding more boxes and are grateful to the National Emergencies Trust for agreeing to double every donation made.

“We know Christmas is a difficult time for many – and we know you get many requests for money. But, if you can, we’re asking your support once more in 2021 to give the gift of memories and buy a box for a child facing the death of a parent or loved one from motor neurone disease.”

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