Founder of A Smile for a Child
A message from Lauren on behalf of the family
There is nothing I could write which would encompass and signify what an amazing man Chris Read was; but I will try. He was an amazing father, son, friend and so much more.
Most of you will know how he built the incredible charity A Smile For A Child. He volunteered for another charity Get Kids Going for a number of years. Running marathons and doing collections for them. When he was made redundant from Waitrose, he decided he would set up his own charity. A Smile For A Child was born in 2008 and dad dedicated his life to it. Working from our front room, he made the charity what it is today. Through his hard work, dedication and love, dad grew A Smile For A Child into the amazing charity it is, one who help the little guys who get missed by the big charities. “We raise money, and we give it away” was dad’s mantra and it was evident in the children he helped. One of dad’s happy places was standing in a supermarket or underground station raising money. He stood there in his purple top and he smiled. He really enjoyed collecting. Especially at the infamous Canary Wharf where dad and his army of collectors once raised over £15,000 in one day! It will be very different collecting without him. But I will continue when we are able to, including the little collecting tricks we had to get through the long hours. Like having a jelly tot every time you got a donation or dad’s world famous ‘silent donation dance’. All dad wanted to do was help; everything he did, he did for the charity and the children he helped. He helped over 5000 young people and raised over 1.8 million pounds in the 12 years he ran A Smile For A Child.
There was nothing dad wouldn’t do for anyone, in his professional charity world or in his personal life. In my opinion, you will never find a more genuine or giving man. A shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or just a smiling face. Dad was all of those things and so much more. If you came to him with something, he would do everything in his power to help you and make it right. Nothing was too big or too small; he was always there. We all have so many happy memories of him. They will all be different and they will all be special to us. Each of us will treasure those memories forever and they will stay with us in all we do. We can share them with each other and reminisce about him and re-live them together. We will remember the special times we had with him, the incredible man he was and the amazing work he did.
There isn’t a moment that goes by where I don’t miss him. I will never stop missing him and all our lives will be different from now on. It is because he was such an amazing, kind, loving person that all of us, everyone he touched, feel so much pain and we all miss him so much.
Things will never be the same, but I would much rather have had the amazing years I had with him than not had them at all. Although he was taken from us far too soon, the work he carried out changed so many lives and so many people were thankful to have known him and been a part of his life. I know I certainly am. People talk about wanting to make a difference during their life and dad did that. Thousands of children’s and their families lives are better, because of him. Words cannot express how much he will be missed. This was difficult to write and nothing I can ever write will be good enough. But I know that Dad’s incredible work will continue, and he will never be forgotten.
Until we meet again Dad,
Impossible is nothing.