Trustees are the people who lead a charity and decide how it is run.

The Trustees of the Nick Smith Foundation come from different parts of Nick’s life – his family, his rugby career, his school and his work.

They will work together to ensure the aims of the Charity are promoted and co-ordinate fundraising activity.

You can read more about the role of Trustee from the Charity Commission >>

Rachel Smith  Patron

Nick’s Wife

Nick and Rachel met as teenagers and were together for over 20 years, and married for almost 10. Blessed with two young children – Hadyn, 5, and Georgia, 3.

In September 2017, their darkness fears were confirmed when Nick was diagnosed with MND.

Through the Charity we will strive to do what we can to find a way to support others. No one should have to face the pain and heartache we went through and are still going through now – through Nick’s Charity we hope to raise awareness of MND, more must be done to halt this cruel disease from destroying lives.

“Nick was so strong, he faced the MND diagnose with an immense strength and courage… we got through the weeks together as a family, comforted by the support expressed from our family and friends, and the love we have for one another sustaining us through.

“We are devastated and can not say in words the impact losing Nick to this cruel disease has had on our family, our future…we’re heartbroken. Nick was truly special, a one of a kind love, my husband and an amazing daddy to Hadyn and Georgia. He will forever be carried in our hearts.

“He was someone who always thought of others, a true leader both on and off the rugby pitch. I want to continue his strength of character through this charity, in his name to make a difference as Nick touched so many people’s lives, may what he did in his life continue on now…for his legacy.”

Founding Trustee

Stephen Naylor  Chair of Trustees

Nick’s Brother-in-Law

Married to Nick’s sister Helen, Stephen saw the pain and suffering – both of Nick and his family – on a daily basis. He is committed to using his experience as a communications and public affairs professional to develop the Charity, make sure its aims are shared and its vision achieved.

“No-one should have to go through what Nick went through in the 101 days between his diagnosis and his death. And no-one should have to go through what those of us in his family continue to go through today. Seeing this at first hand has been heartbreaking. We need to do more, we must do more, to ensure others don’t have to suffer in the same way in the future.”

Founding Trustee

Ryan Jepson

Friends since the age of four when they went to primary school together, Ryan and Nick remained close ever since and was the Best Man at Nick and Rachel’s wedding. He saw what a massive impact the initial diagnosis would have on Nick’s life – someone very active and social. He is a local business owner hoping to help the Charity using marketing skills and innovation.

“Nick was so well loved by those who knew him – and very much respected by those who didn’t. I’m hoping my personal knowledge of Nick can help the Charity fulfil its aims through activities I know Nick would have been proud of. It’s important that out of this tragedy comes some positive legacy.”

Founding Trustee

Johnny Lawless

Johnny was one of Nick’s rugby mentors – he encouraged him to play from an early age at Siddal and identified him as having the potential to play on a more professional basis. He took Nick, and some of his Siddal teammates, to Sheffield Eagles for a time before Nick decided to focus on his career as an accountant and return to amateur rugby league. Johnny will bring his knowledge of the rugby league community, passion for the sport and experience as a businessman to the Charity.

“Nick was one of those people who no-one had a bad word about – a fierce competitor on the rugby pitch, a legend as a leader, but someone also admired by rivals and opponents for his fair play and generosity. His death has robbed us of a friend and a teammate who is irreplaceable and, as a Trustee of the Charity in his name, I want to ensure we ensure his legacy lives on.”

Founding Trustee

Aimee Haggas

Aimee worked with Rachel ten years ago and has become a friend of the family. She is a communications professional with project management experience in the public sector. Aimee has supported the work of the charity since its launch, and was part of the Committee for the first Autumn Ball.

“I think Nick would be surprised to learn I’m a Trustee, as I’ve always been known as ‘Rachel’s friend’. Having seen how lives can be turned upside because of MND and the impact on family and friends made me want to be part of the team that are supporting research into this cruel disease, along with two very special causes Nick was passionate about. I’ll always remember how patient, calm and thoughtful Nick was and I know he took great pride in his work. These qualities will be at the forefront of my mind in my role as a Trustee that I hope to replicate to a Nick standard.”

Appointed 3 December 2018

Dr Scott Allen

Scott is a Senior Research Fellow at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN). His research focuses on understanding how MND affects energy metabolism in people and how metabolism can be manipulated to slow down the disease progression of people with MND and improve their quality of life. Scott has 20 years of scientific experience both in the pharmaceutical industry and in academia and has 10 years of MND research experience.

“I have had the privilege of meeting many people with MND and their families. I am always struck by, not only their bravery in face of such a horrible illness, but also their determination to raise awareness of the disease and raise money to fund both research and care support for patients and their families. Meeting Rachel and Stephen at the charity ball for Nick, I was again taken aback by the drive that has led to the Nick Smith Foundation being established in such a short space of time. I am honoured to become a Trustee of the charity and I will work hard to put in place a lasting legacy for Nick and his family”

Appointed 1 January 2019