A lovely smile and an infectious laugh
Margaret and Chris Smart lost their son David in 1978, when he was just six. The following letter was what Margaret sent to us, enclosing a donation for research into leukaemia in children."I wanted to do something very positive in memory of my mother, Elsie Macklin (nee Barchi). The money we have donated for research into childhood leukaemia, came to me from her. She had been enormously attached to our son, David, who did from leukaemia in 1978, aged six years.
"I chose the UCLH Charity because my mother trained at UCH, becoming a State Registered Nurse in 1935 or 1936. She left in 1936 to marry my father, an engineer in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) Colonial Service. She had very fond memories of her time at UCH, and kept up with many friends she met there. In later years the UCH Nurses' League was enormously kind to her, and at Christmas, for many years, she was sent a large hamper, mainly from Harrods as I seem to recall.
"My mother often looked after David and his younger brother James when they were young. She had a great fund of nursery rhymes and songs with which she entertained them.
"This donation is also in memory of David. My husband and I recently decided to commission an new memorial stone which rather more reflected his personality than the somewhat impersonal one we had. We asked the friends who knew him to contribute their memories of him and we put the most used words about him on the new stone, which were 'A gentle, thoughtful boy with a lovely smile and an infectious laugh'. We also had carved into the stone and outline of his teddy, which my mother had given him, his interests and his signature.
"David's new stone has given us a lot of pleasure and it was lovely to be able to do something for him so many years after his death. We held a party to thank everyone involved, to which two of his friends, Debs and Charles, came with their families. It was wonderful to meet Charles as an adult because he was such a nice young man, and it made us realise what David may well have turned out to be. When Charles wrote to thank us, commenting on a photograph, he said 'I saw a picture of the monkey swing in the garden with David on it which was suddenly very familiar. I remember spending a lot of time on it and the climbing frames and swings... my enduring memory of David is him smiling away, playing on those swings'."
We at UCLH Charity would like to thank Margaret and Chris for this donation. We hope that it will help to change the future for other children with leukaemia.