Christmas lights boost for Smiley Riley Fund

York Press: Christmas lights are switched on at 29 Hamilton Drive, Holgate, York, to raise money for the Riley Plant Fund. pictured: home owners and organisers Nicola Casey, right, and husband Tony, front centre, with Riley's grandmother Simone Potter, second right Christmas lights are switched on at 29 Hamilton Drive, Holgate, York, to raise money for the Riley Plant Fund. pictured: home owners and organisers Nicola Casey, right, and husband Tony, front centre, with Riley's grandmother Simone Potter, second right

FESTIVE fundraising has boosted by more than £1,000 a charity bearing the name of a brave little boy from York who lost his fight against cancer.

The switch-on of the spectacular Christmas lights at Tony and Nikki Casey’s Holgate home – an annual Yuletide event – on Saturday saw a raffle and collections held in support of the Smiley Riley Fund, which is ensuring the memory of Riley Plant lives on by helping families of children undergoing chemotherapy treatment meet travel and living costs.

Riley, from Burnholme, won hearts throughout York for his courage after being diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain tumour earlier this year.

He died in September, aged only 21 months, The fund – originally set up to send Riley and his family on a Disney holiday – has now raised £34,000, with the latest support coming through the Christmas lights ceremony at Tony and Nikki’s house in Hamilton Drive, as more than 100 people saw the illuminations get glowing.

They were switched on by Riley’s father, Gavin, who attended with his wife, Lindsay.

“It looked absolutely amazing and we are so grateful to Tony and Nikki – they even have a moving Santa hologram in the window, which came from America, for people to see as they go past,” said Simone Potter, Riley’s grandmother and one of the Smiley Riley Fund’s organisers.

“We have had a lot of events, but this was probably the hardest because there were so many children there and a sign which lit up to show Riley’s name – it was so touching. Tony and Nikki do this every year to help charities, and when they heard about the Smiley Riley Fund, they asked if they could support it through this year’s event.”

Simone thanked Nestlé for donating toys and £100 to buy selection boxes as presents for a Santa’s grotto at the event, Des Scollick for organising the raffle prizes and Kyle Botterill for taking charge of the electrical work for the event. More information about the fund is at smileyrileyfund.co.uk

• The Christmas lights in Twin Pike Way in Wigginton – or Twinkle Pike Way, as it has been dubbed – were last night being switched on, with proceeds going to St Leonard’s Hospice and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. For pictures, see tomorrow’s Press.

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