Paula is honoured with Points of Light Award
Published on: 03 Feb 2016
DOWNEND mum Paula Banks has got off to a glittering start in her fundraising drive ahead of her 50th birthday – by winning praise from the Prime Minister.
David Cameron has honoured Paula with a UK Points of Light Award for her efforts in support of Bristol Children’s Hospital, which have so far brought in more than £130,000.
Paula started Jack’s Star Tribute Fund after the death of her son at the hospital in 2008, when he was nine years old. Jack had been treated for leukaemia there for more than four years.
Paula, her husband Rob, son Joe and their family and friends wanted to help other patients and families. A year ago, they reached their £100,000 fundraising target for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, funding a playroom and conservatory at the new Children’s Cancer Unit, a special place where children can spend time away from their hospital beds.
During 2015 they raised £10,000 towards the refurbishment of the kitchen, providing a better level of catering for the patients, and Paula’s next project is to help pay for the refurbishment of the 10 isolation rooms where bone marrow transplant patients spend many months recovering.
Paula’s latest initiative is a 50:50:50 challenge; 50 people each pledging £50 by her 50th birthday on October 5.
She has set her sights on the Bath Half Marathon next month – the first time she has run that distance for some years. Jack’s Fund’s annual fancy dress event at the Pomphrey Hill pavilion in Mangotsfield is booked for Friday October 28. Last year’s event raised more than £1,000 which went towards restocking ‘Captain Jack’s Treasure Chests’, three ‘piratey’ toy boxes from which children can choose a special treat when facing scary and unpleasant medical procedures.
Paula’s colleagues at Osborne Clarke in Bristol have also played their part in the fundraising efforts and have various events planned for 2016.
Paula said she wanted to thank all those who have supported the fund over the years.
“ I truly never thought when I set up Jack’s Fund with a target of £5k that it would still be going and it’s all down to the amazing support we’ve received,” she said,
She was thrilled to receive the letter from Number 10 at the end of December
“It is an absolute honour to receive this in my son’s memory and I am so grateful to all those who have supported Jack’s Fund. This award recognises all their hard work.”
Mr Cameron said: “With Jack’s Star Tribute Fund Paula has raised a fantastic amount of money and created a wonderful legacy in memory of her son, Jack.
The toys and facilities she has provided for Bristol Children’s Hospital provide invaluable moments of joy in the lives of sick children. For these children and their families, Paula truly is a Point of Light.”