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Our Favourite Moments From 2018!

Charity News

Here’s to a cracking 2018!

It’s safe to say that 2018 has been an unforgettable year here at The Grand Appeal, and thanks to your wonderful support, we have helped more children than ever from across the South West, South Wales and beyond.

From the Gromit Unleashed 2 trail, to the opening of our new family accommodation Paul’s House, the refurbishment of the Rainbow Room to our Land’s End to Bristol cycle ride, there are an abundance of highlights that have all been made possible thanks to everyone in #TeamGrandAppeal. As we prepare for a jam-packed 2019, here’s a quick rundown of our favourite moments from the past 12 months....

January – Artist submissions flood in for Gromit Unleashed 2

It was a very exciting start to the year as floods of innovative artist submissions for Gromit Unleashed 2 came rolling in! This year we were absolutely overwhelmed by the level of talent, and after weeks of tough decisions, perusing a mountain of entries, a panel of judges selected the very best entries to feature in our third arts trail.


Some of our superstar Gromit Unleashed 2 artists

February – The Emergency Department Team smashed a 24 hour rowathon

We are not short of fearless fundraisers here at The Grand Appeal, and this February the terrific Emergency Department Team rose to an epic challenge and put their endurance to the test in their 24 hour rowathon! A team of more than 30 doctors, nurses and hospital staff rowed a whopping 265 miles in 24 hours!


The fantastic Emergency Department Team

March – Natalia announced her epic ‘Walk of Love’

On to March, and we were greeted by yet another extraordinary fundraiser announcement, and this one came by one of our most dedicated supporters, Natalia. Fundraising hero Natalia Spencer announced that she was lacing up her walking boots once again to embark on her third major fundraising 'Walk of Love', which would reflect the last journey her daughter Elizabeth took before tragically passing away in December 2015. Setting off on Mother’s Day (Sunday, 11th March) at Cheltenham Hospital, where her daughter Elizabeth was first admitted in December 2015, Natalia went on to repeat Elizabeth’s last ever journey. On 29th May, Elizabeth’s birthday, Natalia completed the Walk of Love at Bristol Children’s Hospital, bringing her total raised for the Peadiatric Intensive Care Unit to over £250,000!


Natalia reached Bristol Children's Hospital as the last stop on her 'Walk of Love'

April - Paul’s House Opening

After years in design, planning and construction, we were delighted to open our family accommodation, Paul’s House this April! Located just opposite Bristol Children’s Hospital on Upper Maudlin Street, Paul’s House is named after Paul O’Gorman, whose family founded the charity Children with Cancer, and provides parents and families of critically ill patients with a free, private and comfortable home-from-home just moments away from their child.

This huge project was made possible thanks to generous support from dedicated fundraisers, corporate partnerships as well as a number of major grants from Children with Cancer, The Morrison Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Sit Jules Thorn Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, the Callum St John and the Maisie Gibbins Star Tribute Funds.

Paul's House

The Grand Appeal were delighted to open Paul's House

May – Rainbow Room transformation complete

In May, the transformation of the Rainbow Room was completed. This room is a place where parents came come to spend precious final moments with their child in the immediate bereavement period. In 2015, Nicola’s three-year-old son, Max died suddenly from sepsis. For Nicola, the room left a lasting negative memory with her as she felt it was not fit for its purpose. This feedback led the way for the complete renovation of the Rainbow Room as part of the Palliative Care and Bereavement Support team’s ongoing project to improve bereavement support.

You can read the full story here.

rainbow room

June – Two teams take on the three peaks

Two terrific teams took on the National Three Peaks Challenge, doing their best to fundraise an ambitious £10,000 each. The challenge saw both walk a total of 23 miles whilst trying to navigate the three highest peaks in Scotland, England, and Wales. A team from Clifton Cameras braved the mountains first, followed by a team of nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers and supporters of The Wales and West Acute Transport for Children (WATCh)!

Three Peak Challenge

Clifton Cameras took some very special mascots along for the ride

Three Peak Challenge

The incredible WATCh team were in high spirits as they completed their epic challenge

July – Trail Launch

Gromiteers at the ready! July saw the launch of our third arts trail, Gromit Unleashed 2. Over the course of 10 weeks, 2.5 million people took to the streets of Bristol to hunt down 67 sculptures of Gromit, Wallace and arch-nemesis Feathers McGraw. In a first for arts trails across the world, we brought together arts and science, with interactive sculptures, the use of contactless donation technology and augmented and virtual reality.

Gromit Unleashed 2

Nick Park with Gromit Unleashed 2 sculpture, Space Oddi-tea

August - Professor Andy Wolf Completes Solo Channel Swim

Professor Andy Wolf made a splash in August as he swam solo across the English Channel! Battling 21 miles of cold water, strong tides and jellyfish, Andy reached France in under thirteen hours and is now close to reaching his fundraising target of £20,000! The money that Andy has raised is helping to fund our new 3D Bio-Printing Service that we have established at Bristol Children’s Hospital which will ensure the future of pioneering cardiac care. To learn more about this exciting development for The Grand Appeal and Cardiac, click here.

Andy Wolf

Andy smashed his mammoth swim all in the name of raising money for Bristol Children's Hospital

September – Land’s End to Bristol Cycle Ride

Talk about peddle power! September saw our second Land’s End to Bristol Cycle Ride. Over the course of four days, a brilliant bunch of #TeamGrandAppeal and #TeamCotsforTots heroes braved the cold, wind and rain to cover a whopping 240 Miles. Setting off from Land's End, they cycled through the beautiful Cornish countryside, across Dartmoor and through Cheddar Gorge, all the way to Bristol to finish outside the children's hospital, raising an outstanding £38,000 in the process!

We’re now on the hunt for another impressive team of fearless riders so if you think you’ve got what it takes and want to take on the ride of your life, sign up now for 2019’s adventure! For more details or to register your interest email [email protected]

Land's End

The triumphant cyclists after finishing their exciting ride

October – GU2 auction raised over £1.6million

After an epic summer which saw trail fans flock from across the world, eager bidders and guests were welcomed to an electrifying auction as each sculpture went under the hammer beneath the wings of Concorde at Bristol Aerospace. Extra special guests - comedian Dawn French, renowned auctioneer Richard Madley and long-time patron of The Grand Appeal and Aardman co-founder Peter Lord - were all in attendance for the spectacular evening as well as around 600 guests bidding in-person, while online bidders across the country upped the ante. After an exhilarating night, £1.62 Million was raised for Bristol Children’s Hospital and St Michael’s NICU.


The Gromit Unleashed 2 Auction raised a phenomenal amount of money

November – Disability Fun Day

At the beginning of November, we funded a Disability Fun Day for patients and families at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Jam-packed with a whole host of activities we treated patients and their families to an incredible Disability Fun Day which included sensory play and music therapy sessions.

Adding to the fun, patients were invited to make their very own butterflies and to do a spot of Gromit colouring in! Parents were also able to catch up with various support teams from the hospital, as well as the play specialists and Grand Appeal Sensory Play Practitioner and Music Therapists. We are so proud to have funded a fun-filled day for the patients of Bristol Children's Hospital and we want to say a huge thank you to all of the staff and organisations that made this event such a success!

disability fun day

The Grand Appeal Sensory Play Practitioner, Marius, with a patient

December – Wallace and Gromit’s BIG Christmas Dress Up

Then the festivities began! After an amazing and busy year, we were more than ready for some Christmas antics, and jumping at the chance to deck the halls and sport some sparkles. Sponsored by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, we launched our new dress-down fundraiser, Wallace and Gromits BIG Christmas Dress Up. Lots of families, friends and colleagues donned their most seasonal attire to raise money for patients and their families at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Christmas at the hospital was equally busy! Decorations on every ward, a 20 foot tree outside the hospital, a pantomime, and a nativity are just a handful of the festive fun that the young patients at Bristol Children’s Hospital have been able to enjoy this past month, thanks to your donations.

All that is left to say is a very Happy New Year to each and every single one of you in #TeamGrandAppeal. THANK YOU for continuing to be the best supporters in the world, and for helping us to achieve so much this year for the brave and resilient young patients at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

BIG Chrismas Dress Up

We had the pleasure of meeting a very special little elf at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit