Skip to content
left end
left end
right end

13 March 2015

Mother’s fundraising in memory of son reaches £100,000 target

A mother from Downend has raised an incredible £100,000 for Bristol Children's Hospital, in memory of her young son.

Paula Banks' son Jack was just nine when he passed away from a rare form of leukaemia in 2008. Through Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity, Paula set up Jack's Star Tribute Fund to raise money for the Children's Cancer Unit where Jack was treated.

And this Mother's Day, just a few days after what would have been Jack's 16th birthday, Paula, her husband Rob, and Jack's brother Joe are overwhelmed to have reached their £100,000 target.

Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal raises money to support sick children and babies at Bristol Children's Hospital. The charity helps families to set up individual Star Tribute Funds in memory of a loved one, to raise money for specific hospital equipment, activities or departments.

The money Jack's Fund has raised has enabled the creation of a brand new children's playroom and conservatory at the hospital, as part of its new integrated Children's Cancer Unit. The unit was developed as part of the hospitals recent expansion, which saw it bring its Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant wards together on one floor.

The playroom includes a very special tribute to Jack in the form of a caricature mural on the wall outside, creating a lasting tribute to Paula's son.

Jack was diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2003. Following chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from his brother, Joe, he remained in remission for more than two years, but relapsed in August 2006.

After further chemotherapy, Jack remained well for a further year, but a routine bone marrow test in February 2008 confirmed the cancer had returned. He received a second bone marrow transplant, but sadly developed pneumonia, which his immune system was too weak to battle. He passed away on 23 July 2008 with his family at his side.

Paula set up Jack's Fund one month later. It has held annual fancy dress parties, ladies nights, and abseils, entered teams into events like the Bristol and Bath Half Marathons, Bristol 10K and the London Marathon, and 16 people have skydived for the fund over the years.

Oncology play centre

Paula, 48, said, "I was determined to turn our family's experience into something positive, and am absolutely thrilled to have reached our £100,000 target.

"People really took Jack's Fund to heart and we reached our initial target of £5,000 quite quickly, but I knew there was more we could do. The hospital was holding a meeting to discuss ideas for the expansion, and as soon as they mentioned the new playroom and conservatory I knew that was what I wanted to help build. Jack was so full of fun and loved to play, it just felt the right thing to do in his memory.


"The Grand Appeal told me the hospital would need £100,000 to make the playroom and conservatory happen, and that became our new goal.

"The previous Oncology ward had a fairly small playroom, with little natural light and no outdoor space. The new area is bright and welcoming, and the conservatory on the balcony is as good as being outside. It will do so much to help children feel less isolated. As someone whose child has been through treatment on the unit, I know just how much it will mean to patients and to their families to have a space to go to, to just play and be children, and if they just need some time out."

Jack's Fund has provided Wii Fit consoles, DVDs and computer games, and continues to keep three "Captain Jack Treasure Chests" stocked full of toys, all of which help to improve children's experience while being treated at the hospital.

Paula continued, "From the word go I have been overwhelmed by the support our friends, family, members of the public and local businesses have shown us, and I'd like to thank them for their continued support of Jack's Fund.

"We all miss Jack every day, but even more so at times like Mother's Day. I'm determined to keep raising money for the Grand Appeal, to help Bristol Children's Hospital continue its fantastic work, and make life a little bit easier for other children diagnosed with this disease.

"I know that Jack would be so proud of the generosity he has inspired, and the wonderful legacy he has helped to create."

Paula is already on her way to her next goal: to raise £10,000 for the Grand Appeal to help towards the upgrade of the kitchen on the Children's Cancer Unit. Jack's Star Tribute Fund has been chosen as one of the two official charities of the Frenchay 10K on 12 April, and Osborne Clark, Paula's employers, have selected the Fund as their Bristol Charity of the Year for two years.

To find out more about Paula's fundraising, and how you can help support Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal, visit