Parents of Sudbury teenager who died from brain tumour in 2013 overwhelmed by support during Covid-19 pandemic as public fundraising for Smile of Arran Trust resumes
The family of a popular Sudbury teenager, who died eight years ago, have been overwhelmed by the continued outpouring of support ahead of their charity’s first public fundraiser in almost two years.
Steve and Alison Tosh, who now live in Sturmer, next to Haverhill, hope to return to their annual pre-pandemic fundraising of at least £25,000 through The Smile of Arran Trust.
The organisation was set up in memory of their son, Arran, who was a member of the Centre Stage Company in Haverhill and lost his battle with a brain tumour in June 2014, just five days after his diagnosis, at the age of 13.
His parents and siblings marked what would have been his 21st birthday on September 27, and are now pressing forward with public fundraising plans, which have been heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The first Smile of Arran event in over 18 months – a jewellery auction and party – will take place at Halstead Football Club on Saturday, from 7.30pm.
Organised by family friend Saff Peters, the event is supported by jewellers Phil Zelley and Danielle Phillip, who have donated the stock from their former Stag & Doe shop in Sudbury, with all proceeds going to The Smile of Arran.
Arran’s mother, Alison, said they have been so grateful for the “fundraising angels” who had continued to donate to the charity during Covid-19, and looked forward to meeting supporters in person once again.
“We’ve had some really kind people who have donated over the last two years, but it’s so nice to be able to have people come together again,” she told the Free Press. “Things are slowly getting back to normal.
“Times have been so hard for everyone with Covid and people losing jobs, but the fact people still donate is wonderful.
“Arran himself was fundraising for cancer research three weeks before he was diagnosed, so I know it’s something he would be very proud of. It helps to keep his memory alive.”
The money raised by The Smile of Arran provides grants for children and families affected by brain tumours, and funds music therapy through the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
In the 2021/22 financial year, they have awarded 53 grants, totalling £7,908, supported by the Young Lives Vs Cancer organisation.
Arran’s sister, Abbie, is planning to bring back the Smile Festival, a popular Sudbury music event, next year, while his friends are also organising fundraisers of their own.
Last month, schoolmate Harry Loe raised £850 by running the virtual London Marathon around Great Yeldham, where Arran and his family lived until moving to Sudbury in 2010.
“I think, a lot of Arran’s friends, now that they are older, are organising fundraisers that they couldn’t do when they were younger,” added Mrs Tosh.
“It’s just so overwhelming. We remember Arran every day but, as he wrote in his diary, life goes on. I still get so many messages from people saying they will never forget Arran.
“It makes it more comforting that I still feel he’s around. Whenever there’s a big get-together, I do imagine he’s still in and amongst everyone.”
To learn more about The Smile of Arran Trust, click here.