Family’s Christmas kindness campaign in memory of tragic Sunderland dad

Tonia, Arthur and Hayley Crighton, with footballers paying tribute to their son Jamie.
Tonia, Arthur and Hayley Crighton, with footballers paying tribute to their son Jamie.

The loved ones of a popular Sunderland dad held a memorial event on what would have been his 26th birthday.

Jamie Crighton died tragically last November after he collapsed while waiting for his order at a city centre takeaway.

Jamie Crighton with his dad Arthur Crighton.

Jamie Crighton with his dad Arthur Crighton.

The 6ft 9in “Gentle Giant”, from Southwick, had struggled with mental health issues and had tried to take his life 15 times.

It is thought Sunderland AFC fan Jamie - who was dad to Ellie, now six - died due to a heart attack because of the strain he had put his body under through the numerous overdoses and the cocktail of medication he had taken.

Now his dad Arthur, 56, mum Tonia, 49, sister Haley, 23, and friends and other family members are working to raise funds to offer comfort to those in need, as well as the teams of professionals who help them.

A five-a-side football match was held at the Goals centre, in Durham Road, on Saturday, bringing together his relatives and old school friends from Monkwearmouth Academy.

I want to give back to all those who looked out for my son.

Arthur Crighton

Arthur, who is also grandad to Haley’s son Leo, three, is once again leading a call to collect tubs of chocolate treats, which will be gifted to the homeless, those with mental health problems, police, ambulance staff, hospital workers and mental health carers around Christmas time.

He had collected 150 so far, beating the 95 he amassed last December, with plans to reach out beyond Sunderland as a thank you to medical teams who treated Jamie when he was most in need of help, as well as children’s wards and the elderly.

Arthur, who lives in Southwick, said: “I want to give back to all those who looked out for my son.

“We want them to know they really are appreciated.

“This is the first birthday since he died, but now there will be every birthday and Christmas, and it’s just devastated me and my family.

“We had a bit of a kickabout for Jamie on his birthday and we raised a few pounds, although I’ve not counted it up yet.
“All his old school friends chucked some money into the bucket as they came in and they were absolutely brilliant.”

Anyone who would like to add their support to the family’s Christmas campaign can call Arthur on 07720 939 607.