Family of Haywards Heath fell runner who died from hypothermia launch grant scheme for athletes
The family of a mountain runner from Haywards Heath who died during a run in Scotland are launching a grant scheme in his name.
The Chris Smith Memorial Fund will give grants to aspiring athletes from all walks of life to help them fulfil their potential.
It will have a particular focus on hill running.
Team GB fell runner Chris, 43, died from hypothermia despite careful planning when the weather on an afternoon run in the hills of Glen Lyon, Perthshire, turned deadly on October 27 last year.
An inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court was told that driving sleet, reduced visibility and a wind chill of -11 caused Chris to become disorientated and assistant coroner for West Sussex Robert Simpson concluded his death was an accident caused by adverse weather conditions.
“We launched a fundraiser back in November just after Chris died,” said his wife Lindsay, who lives in Haywards Heath.
The TotalGiving page will now become a charitable trust, she said, helping talented athletes cover the costs of running kit, training camps and travel to remote races.
The aim is to remove any barriers that could prevent runners from competing at a high level, she added.
”Were looking at a few hundred pounds per person most likely,” Lindsay said.
The original fundraiser at www.totalgiving.co.uk has raised more than £19,000 so far excluding gift aid.
”It’s absolutely brilliant,” said Lindsay, adding that the total with gift aid is nearly £23,000.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with it as it’s way beyond what we ever thought we would get.”
Lindsay said she was inspired to continue Chris’s legacy of helping people after his friends told her how he had given them running advice and support.
“He was from a family of runners, whose mum and dad hugely supported him in his running career,” said Lindsay.
“Other people don’t necessarily have that kind of support in their lives so we were really thinking about how we could give people the opportunity that Chris had,” she added.
Lindsay said that Chris was also a member of Haywards Heath Harriers and that he loved running on Ditchling Beacon and around the area.
The family hope to launch a Chris Smith Memorial Fund website soon with details of how to apply for grants.
The Total Giving site will be closed on June 30 as the fundraiser moves over to being a charitable trust.
People can also email [email protected]