A PAL of a much-loved student who was found dead in his bed just a day after his 19th birthday is hoping a tribute event set up in his memory will grow into an annual event.
Artist and musician Robbie Smith – a law and art student at Hartlepool Sixth Form College – died in his bedroom at his home in Wharton Terrace, Hartlepool, in March.
The teenager had celebrated his birthday with his dad, Bob Smith, the night before, with the pair enjoying a pizza and a couple of drinks.
Robbie’s friends from the college were left devastated by his death, and in recognition of his love of music Alex Hooks, who studied on the same course, has set up ‘Smithfest’ in his honour.
The event is being held at The Nursery Inn, in Hopps Street, on July 26.
Starting at noon and running through until 10pm, the festival-style event will feature a host of bands and all funds raised from the £3 admission fee will go towards Epilepsy Outlook.
Alex, 18, from Sandringham Road, said: “We were all devastated when Robbie died and this was an idea that was mentioned pretty quickly.
“We mentioned to Robbie’s dad at his funeral and he gave us his blessing so it has gone from there really.
“There are five of us doing it, we haven’t got a budget so the bands who have signed up for us are all doing it free of charge which we’re very grateful for.
“If it is a success, then we will look to do it next year, and see if we can make it bigger.”
Alex has arranged the event alongside Daniel Marshall, Kyle Davies, Haydn Rogan and Macauly Prince.
He says they have chosen Epilepsy Outlook as a charity as Robbie suffered from the condition.
Artists taking part in Smithfest are White Tones, Lucy French, Hill, The Docks, Alicia Watson and Elektra – all from Hartlepool – while Idle Violets, Gnome Invasion and The Antiseptics will travel from Middlesbrough, Weld will come from Stockton and Darlington-based Kidd will also perform.
Tickets will be available on the door or from Alex on 07896 817696.