My son died on Father's Day...and I will never get over losing him

PROUD dad Ronnie Smith knows there will be no card tomorrow from the son he loves.

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Ronnie Smith says he will never get over the death of his son
Ronnie Smith says he will never get over the death of his son

Instead, there will be painful memories of Father's Day two years ago, when his son Brian suddenly and tragically died.

"I'll never get over losing my boy", the 55-year-old said.

"It's not something you go through, it's something we are going through and will stay with us forever."

Taxi driver Ronnie was relaxing at his Maryhill home, on Father's Day in 2012, when a knock on the door changed his life forever.

To his horror and disbelief, two policemen had arrived to tell him the worst news imaginable.

His 27-year-old son was dead.

Ronnie said: "He's never far from my thoughts.

"Brian never brought any trouble to our door. He was a good boy and a tremendous footballer.

"So I knew, as soon as I saw the police at my door that day, that something bad had happened to him.

"I didn't even need them to tell me. As soon as they said "Brian Smith" I knew my boy was gone."

Brian had collapsed and died at a friend's house. Since then, Brian's family, including his mother Anne and sister Claire, 32, have struggled to cope without him.

But the family is determined his memory will live on and want to help others.

Sitting in his living room, surrounded by pictures of Brian, Ronnie said: "We have Father's Day a week early in our house.

"Claire gives me a card the Sunday before. Father's Day isn't Father's Day for us anymore.

"And that's why I've organised a charity football match, to help me get through Sunday without Brian.

"It gives us something to concentrate on and, at the same time, help other people."

Ronnie has organised a memorial football match, at the John Paul Academy in Summerston, to raise cash for a Glasgow charity, the Teddy Bear Foundation.

It will take place at noon tomorrow and Ronnie wants as many people as possible to come along.Rangers fan Brian had been a promising young footballer, playing for a host of teams, including Clydebank Juniors FC and Albion Rovers.

One team of players, including "Budgie" McGhee, manager of Clydebank Juniors FC, will play against a select side of Brian's friends and family.

THE Smith family is also hosting a fundraising event after the match at Maryhill Juniors Club.

Ronnie said: "Brian was football mad. It was his life and it was my life too.

"We would travel all over Scotland as a family to watch him play with Albion Rovers.

"I don't know what to do with myself on a Saturday any more. I would always either be watching Brian play, or watching football on the telly with him.

"Sometimes I'll be sitting here, watching football, and I'll turn to say something to him about the match. But then I realise he's not there any more.

"It's the wee silly things that remind you and upset you.

"My emotions are up and down every day and I know it's always going to be like that from now on.

"It's just the way it has to be."

On the first anniversary of plumber Brian's death last year, the family hosted a similar event which raised £850 for the Teddy Bear Foundation.

The Glasgow-based charity offers support for special needs children across Scotland.

Karate instructor Ronnie hopes to raise even more cash this year.

A Teddy Bear Foundation spokesman said: "Brian's family have shown enormous courage in the way they have chosen to publicly remember their son.

"We are humbled that they have found it within themselves to help the Teddy Bear Foundation at the same time."

Ronnie said: "I wanted to do something to ensure Brian's memory continued, and he left a legacy.Raising cash for the Teddy Bear Foundation just seemed the right thing to do and a football match seemed the right way to do it.

"Brian was a brilliant footballer. What a player he was - truly outstanding.

"I used to watch him every match and couldn't believed his ability. His pace was incredible.

"Everyone always said he was a really gifted player.

"That's why it seemed right to get all his pals, the family, and boys he played with, together for a game.

"I think he'd be embarassed by all this and say 'Dad, what are you playing at?'

"But secretly, he would probably be quite chuffed."

Brian's memorial match kicks-off at noon tomorrow at the John Paul Academy in Summerston.

To make a donation in Brian's memory, visit www.justgiving.com/teddybearfoundation/donate

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

Football

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