Tots raise cash in memory of tragic Burnley dad

FAMILY PORTRAIT: Luke Smith with his partner Claire and their two children Mia and Lilah (S)
FAMILY PORTRAIT: Luke Smith with his partner Claire and their two children Mia and Lilah (S)

The daughters of a brave Burnley man who lost his battle with leukaemia last year are preparing to walk three miles in his memory.

Sisters Mia (6) and Lilah (2) Smith will join hundreds of youngsters at Pendleside Hospice’s Little Hospice Heroes’ following the death of their dad in November.

We didn’t realise how important Pendleside Hospice are to the community until we had to use them

Claire Smith

Window cleaner Luke (30) was given the devastating diagnosis in July 2013, and after fighting the disease for 16 months he was told that no more treatment was available.

He returned to his home to spend time with his family, and having been engaged to his childhood sweetheart Claire for 10 years, he finally tied the knot. Before his death, he also saw his youngest daughter get baptised.

Early years practitioner at Taywood Nursery School Claire (28), who will also be taking part in the walk, said: “We didn’t realise how important Pendleside Hospice are to the community until we had to use them.

“Luke wasn’t in for a long time, only for about two weeks, but during that time they were amazing, and the care they gave him and all the family was phenomenal. They still support us today, and we just want to say thank you.

“The care is free of charge to all who use it, the majority of which they rely on from donations and fund-raising.

“I had been with Luke since I was 15, and had been engaged for 10 years. With having children and buying a house, we never got round to doing it, but when he got poorly we set a date.”

Having opened a Just Giving page for her daughters, Claire decided to set a target of £200. But within 24 hours of launching the site, the former Ivy Bank High School student was shocked to see £500 already in the kitty.

She said: “I was really overwhelmed with how much it’s raised. The family are being really supportive, and can’t believe how much we have got already. I am really pleased we are raising so much for a good cause.”

If you would like to support Mia and Lilah visit www.justgiving.com/Claire-Smith102

Little Hospice Heroes’ will take place on May 17th. For more information visit pendleside.org.uk/Little-Hospice-Heroes-Form or call the fund-raising team on 440120. The cost is £5 per child and they must be accompanied by an adult who takes part free of charge.