Treasured shirt gives fund a boost

Published on: 24 Nov 2016

Liam and Gerard

DOWNEND mum Paula Banks has marked her 50th birthday with a big boost for her fundraising for Bristol Children's Hospital.

Paula has been supporting the hospital since 2008, when her younger son Jack died from leukaemia at the age of nine.

The family set up the Jack Banks Star Tribute Fund, part of the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, which has now raised nearly £170,000.

Paula launched the 50:50:50 challenge in the year up to her birthday, aiming for 50 people to each collect at least £50.

“We raised an incredible £17,164 in just ten months so I'd like to a massive, massive thank you to everyone who took part by either cycling, running, walking, making, baking, losing weight or hair, saving pennies, growing flowers and more,  and to those who sponsored and supported everyone taking part.” she said.

The fund's annual Halloween party brought in another £1,000, which is going toward the latest project – upgrading the ten isolation rooms where children who have had bone marrow treatments have to spend their time.

The fund has already paid for a conservatory and playroom at the hospital as well as providing a jukebox, emergency palliative care bags, Wii fits and the popular Captain Jack’s Treasure Chests, which contain toys and treats for young patients. 

Paula said: “We are just £16k away from our target for this refurb. It  will make the rooms more welcoming for children by bringing in the same theme as the playroom and oncology areas of the unit as well as making the rooms more functional for the patients, their families and the medical team.”

Jack's childhood best friend, Liam Bermingham, who has himself been treated for a brain tumour, has given the fund a further boost by donating a Liverpool FC signed shirt for auction.

Liam , from Kingswood, a big fan of the Premiership side, was given the shirt when he visited Anfield last year and met the manager and captain at the time, Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard, and some of the players.

The shirt, signed by every member of the 2015 team apart from Coutinho, sold for £150 while a Wasps  shirt donated  signed by England Rugby's Joe Launchbury, sold for £100.

Liam also ran the Bath Half Marathon this year for Jack's fund.

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