Ross’s memory to live on through foundation

Ross Smith, 27, from Shelf who died of cancer aged 27 pictured in action for Belmont Abbey College in the USA
Ross Smith, 27, from Shelf who died of cancer aged 27 pictured in action for Belmont Abbey College in the USA

A charity has been formed by family and friends of a popular Brighouse and Clifton football player who died aged 27 from an aggressive form of cancer.

Ross Smith lost his nine month battle to a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer earlier this year.

Now, family and former coaches at Clifton have formed the Ross Smith Foundation with funds being raised to support local young adults with cancer, and their families.

“All applications for help to improve quality of life will be considered,” said his brother Matthew. “We also hope to sponsor local sporting events, which Ross would have been very keen to do. The charity stands as a tribute to Ross’ positive attitude towards life and his love of sport.”

The first of the charity events is on Sunday, August 10 - a football match between most of the original under eight Clifton Rangers players, and many of the Brighouse Juniors players.

The match will be held at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School, Stoney Lane, Lightcliffe, at noon. Afterwards, there will be a raffle and refreshments at The Pond pub.

“We have had some fabulous prizes donated already, but any last-minute ones would be much appreciated,” said mum Jayne. “Everyone is welcome and we are hoping the weather will be kind. Some of the dads may get drafted in too, so it should be a very light-hearted affair.

“Ross was a wonderful and hugely popular young man, taken away from us far too soon six months ago.

“His funeral was attended by hundreds and hundreds of people from all over the world, which highlighted just how many lives he had touched. He had a totally infectious personality, and his smile lit up every room he entered, a fact which was mentioned in almost every single sympathy card and letter we received.”

Ross, a keen Manchester United fan attending many of their matches, joined Clifton Rangers in 1994, and played with them until his mid-teens. He went on to play for Huddersfield Town Academy, Halifax Town Academy, Brighouse Juniors, Bradford Park Avenue, Shelf United, and Brighouse Town.

He then progressed to Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina for four years from 2009, where he spent much of his time playing football and representing the college as captain of the senior team.