Friends of William Smedley host tribute night to raise money for memorial bench

Pictured: Olivia Morris (left) and Lauren Downey (right) with William's siblings, Nay Smedley-Collier, Tam Smedley-Collier and Lacey Collier PICTURE: Mecha Morton

Friends of a ‘caring and loyal’ teenager who died in a crash on the A14 have banded together to host a games night to raise money for a memorial bench.

The event will be held at Planet Laser in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday in memory of William Smedley, from Bury.

William Smedley

William, 18, was killed in the car crash at Rougham on Boxing Day. Jake Paxton, 18 and from Bury, who was in the same car, died the following day.

William’s friend Lauren Downey, 17, and ex-girlfriend Olivia Morris, 16, have organised the event with the help of other friends and members of his family.

“He was the most down to earth, lovely person who would do anything for anyone. He was so caring and loyal and funny,” said Lauren, who met William around six years ago when she moved to King Edward VI school.

“It’s been such a shock for everyone. It still hasn’t properly sunk in and everyone just thinks he’s going to walk back through the door. It’s like a jigsaw and there’s one piece left to fill. Will is that piece and it’s never going to be filled again.”

The night, which will run from 6pm until 9pm, will consist of unlimited laser games at a cost of £5 per person, a raffle and bingo as well as the chance to come together and remember William.

All money raised will go towards a memorial bench to be placed next to William’s grave in Bury St Edmunds Cemetery.

“It will be right beside him so people will have somewhere to sit and be close to him,” said Lauren.

The estimated cost for the bench is just over £1,000 and the girls have already raised around £300 from selling raffle tickets. They hope that this event, which already has about 60 people attending, will take them to the total amount.

“I think Will would love all the attention and he’d be so proud that everyone is pulling together to help each other,” said Lauren.

“People who wouldn’t necessarily come together have now made friends because of him and that’s what he would love.”

William’s family would like to thank Lauren, Olivia and friends for organising the event and helping to keep his memory alive.

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