I am proud to be a patron of Thomas’s Fund, a charity set up in 2007 that provides music therapy in Northamptonshire for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses or a disability which, for medical reasons, means they are too ill to attend school for extended periods. These children desperately need our support, and Thomas’s Fund needs to raise money to pay for therapists to work across Northamptonshire, providing music therapy at home.
The charity was founded in the name of Thomas Smith [above], who died at the age of 10 from a life-limiting neurodegenerative condition in 2004. He lived a short life, unable to attend school all year round, but thanks to his family, his life was packed with fun – a big part of which came through music.
It was the music aspect, and my connections with Northampton, that led the Fund’s founders to offer me the position of patron in 2007. I jumped at the chance. I learned that music therapy had a vital role to play in Thomas’s life, and I was privileged to meet his younger brother, Harry, and other children with similar conditions, at the launch concert in 2007. You can read more about the charity by visiting the Thomas’s Fund website, created by Northampton-based designer James Atkins. It’s amazing how much free time people are prepared to give for a good cause.
It was with great sadness that, in December 2010, we learned that Harry Smith had died, aged 12, of the same illness that claimed his brother Thomas. The Chronicle & Echo in Northampton ran this moving tribute. Our thoughts are with his parents, Tim and Lucy Smith, who are an inspiration to mums and dads everywhere, and work tirelessly for the Fund, and Harry was its first Junior Ambassador.