Community Pride: Smiley Riley founder's amazing dedication to grandson's memory

Simone Potter with her grandson Smiley Riley

Simone Potter with her grandson Smiley Riley

First published in News
Last updated

A YORK grandmother who has raised £100,000 for charity in memory of her late grandson has been nominated for two Community Pride awards.

Simone Potter set up the Smiley Riley fund after her grandson Riley died in 2012, after a battle with a rare and incurable brain tumour.

Although the fund was started to send Riley and his family on a dream holiday to DisneyWorld, Simone kept the the charity going after the little boy died aged just 21 months.

Now, two years, later the charity's fundraising has reached almost £100,000 and Simone has been nominated as the Charity Fundraiser of the Year and the Community Pride Person of the Year.

Her sister, Helen Benson, said: "Instead of falling apart when her grandson died Simone decided to help others all over the country in fighting brain tumours.

"She looked after Riley every weekend and when he died I thought it would kill her. Instead she set up this fund. She runs her own business and all her spare time is dedicated to the Smiley Riley fund.

"She is just amazing. Rather than just accepting what happened, she is determined to help other people."

Helen has nominated Simone to make sure her hard work, which includes organising outings for children with brain tumours and their families, does not go unrecognised.

And Simone's friend Veronica Dobson, who also helps with the charity's work, has added her voice to Simone's nomination.

She said: "Simone runs the charity while also running a busy beauty salon employing three full time staff. She's always on hand to speak to any of the families at any time, to help them in any way she can.

"Recently, she organised a trip to butterfly house in Sheffield for eight families with a child battling a brain tumour. I was lucky enough to go along on the day and it was amazing to see how she interacted and formed such strong friendships with the families on the day."

Simone has thanked Helen and Veronica for the help they offer her in running the Smiley Riley fund, as well as staunch supporters Lisa Hall and Jeanette Husband.

Charity Fundraiser of the Year and Person of the Year are among 13 Community Pride awards, and the deadline for nominations on July 18 is creeping closer.

We want to see your nominations of people who deserve praise for their inspirational spirit and hard work making life better for people in York.

For further information, or to make a nomination go to yorkpress.co.uk/pride

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