Blackpool's festive champion Ryan is praised by Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury

Ryan Smith (left) and Spencer Brown doing some last-minute Christmas shopping for a needy family
Ryan Smith (left) and Spencer Brown doing some last-minute Christmas shopping for a needy family
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Big-hearted Blackpool charity fundraiser Ryan “Big Ry” Smith’s latest act of Christmas kindness earned him a dream present: personal video messages from two of the biggest sporting stars on the planet.

Big-hearted Blackpool charity fundraiser Ryan “Big Ry” Smith’s latest act of Christmas kindness earned him a dream present: personal video messages from two of the biggest sporting stars on the planet.

Ryan is used to assembling Fylde coast sporting celebrities for charity events but never before have his selfless efforts involved stars of the stature of world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua and former world champ Tyson Fury.

It all started on Christmas Eve, when South Shore-based Ryan posted a simple Facebook message offering some festive turkey and ham to anyone going short this Christmas.

This started a conversation with a mother-of-three from Grange Park, who was struggling to provide for her family.

The posts were also seen by Spencer Brown, a Blackpool businessman and longtime friend of Ryan’s, who takes up the story.

“It was 9.30pm on Christmas Eve, so Ryan and I dashed round to the supermarket five minutes before it closed.

“I own Tower Gifts on the Promenade, so we also got that opened up to pick up some presents.

“Other people we met along the way gave us money, other contributions and helped to wrap presents.

“We filled the car, took it round to the lady’s house and other people followed us with presents. Suddenly a family who had nothing had everything. Big Ry strikes again.”

But that isn’t the end of the story because Spencer also runs a commercial management company called Gold Star, whose clients include some real heavyweight celebrities.

And later that night, Ry received the following video message from Tyson Fury in Las Vegas, who said: “This is Tyson Fury, aka the Gypsy King. I just want to say a big shout out to Big Ryan for what happened on Christmas Eve, making sure a family who had nothing had Christmas presents, food and everything else. God bless you, son. All the best, take it easy.”

And on Christmas morning, Ry woke up to another video message: “Big Ryan, what’s happening? It’s Anthony Joshua. Spencer told me about all the positive stuff you are doing. You are an inspiration to me, mate, I’ll tell you that. Out there doing a good thing on Christmas. Not really thinking about yourself but thinking about others. I wish we all lived like that. You are a good man. Keep up the good work, mate, and I’ll see you soon.”

It made for a knockout Christmas in the Smith household ... and for a grateful Grange Park family.