Annual round up
2017 has been such a special year here at The Grand Appeal, and thanks to you, we have been as busy as ever, ensuring that the young patients and their families cared for at Bristol Children's Hospital have access to the best medical care, pioneering equipment, expert doctors and nurses, family accommodation and patient activities. A pioneering resuscitation station, Music Therapists, a sensory play specialist, a family support worker, a scoliosis X-Ray chair, a Disability Fun Day, ward transformations and iPads for the hospital’s school are just a handful of the things we have funded this year and none of this would have been possible without your incredible support.
We are so excited to share just some of our fundraising highlights from this year – our way of saying a huge thank you to our supporters, #TeamGrandAppeal, for making it so special.
Back in January, Bob kicked off our 2017 fundraising with a bang, completing his year-long challenge to run a half marathon every single week in 2016. Bob even went the extra mile for his final race and ran a full marathon from Bristol to Bath and back, smashing his initial fundraising target to raise a fantastic £15,000.
On Valentine’s Day, our very special fundraiser, Natalia, successfully completed her ‘Walk of Love’ in memory of her daughter Elizabeth who tragically passed away from a rare autoimmune condition at Bristol children’s hospital in December 2015. This epic challenge began exactly one year ago to the day, and after covering 6,000 miles around the coastline of Great Britain, Natalia has raised over an incredible £200,000 for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, where Elizabeth was cared for.
In March, we revealed our Shaun the Sheep competition winner, and the wonderful Weather Shaun became the latest addition to our Shaun in the City flock! The sculpture, designed by patient Leah Dunn, was shortlisted from hundreds of entries and then voted the winner by over 1,000 people on Facebook. ‘Weather Shaun’ was on display at the Gromit Unleashed Shop at the Mall Cribbs Causeway until June and now takes pride of place in Leah’s living room!
April saw the arrival of brand new artwork to the theatres at Bristol Children’s Hospital. Thanks to your wonderful support, we transformed the clinical environments into open, friendly and distracting spaces for young patients undergoing surgery. Level 4 Theatres are now colourfully seaside-themed, and Level 5 Theatres has had a space-themed makeover to take pre- and post-operative patients into another dimension, with artworks designed by Gromit Unleashed artist Emily Golden throughout the department.
We had an amazing turnout on Sunday for the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k and Family Run, for which we were delighted to be the official local charity. We are so thankful to our wonderful team, with 190 10k runners, and 23 families taking part in the family run to support Bristol Children's Hospital and Special Care Baby Unit. You raised a whopping £30,000!
In June, we were delighted to welcome our favourite gentle giant, MegaMorph, to the streets of Bristol, before kicking off our ‘Morph: Still naughty at 40!’ exhibition at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. We loved seeing your #myMorphselfies throughout the month as the cheeky chap stopped off at various Bristol landmarks.
And that’s not all… the excitement continued as we were nominated for the Bristol Post Biz Award for Retailer of the Year, which we went on to win!
In July we were delighted to launch our Emergency Department Appeal! Supporting the busiest children’s emergency department in the South West, the appeal will help to transform the Emergency Department at Bristol Children’s Hospital. Thank you so much to each and every one of you who has backed the appeal - with your wonderful support, we have already been able to fund the expansion of the Resus (resuscitation) area, where the most critically ill babies and children are treated as well as a pioneering, lifesaving resuscitation station. If you would like to find out more about our ongoing ED appeal, check out our appeal film here.
In August, we funded a jam-packed Arts Week at the hospital. With your donations, we were able to offer young patients and their families a whole array of activities including graffiti workshops and drumming classes! We were even lucky enough to welcome Gromit Unleashed artist Paula Bowles for an illustration masterclass, which saw her accompany a storyteller through the wards, bringing the patient’s imaginations to life on paper.
This September, a team of incredible doctors and surgeons showed their dedication to improving the lives of sick children and their families outside of their roles at the hospital by swimming the English Channel. The team battled 21 miles of tidal water, waves and jellyfish raising over £16,000! The money raised will go towards creating a specialist bereavement cubicle within PICU, to give families a much needed private space to say goodbye to their children.
And the fundraising didn’t stop there! We finished off September with our first Land’s End to Bristol cycle ride. Thanks to some serious pedal power from our brilliant team of 18 cyclists, the Land's End team came home victorious, having covered 240 (hilly!) miles in just four days, raising £40,000 for our Emergency Department Appeal and the bereavement services at Bristol Children's Hospital.
Our fabulous superhero volunteer John Wilkins won the Pride of Britain ITV West Country Fundraiser of the Year! John and daughter Rachel were guests of honour at a prestigious ceremony in London, honouring all the selfless, amazing heroes from across the country. John has skydived his way through 20 years of volunteering for us, leading The Grand Appeal skydiving team to raise over £300,000 to date.
After keeping our new arts trail under wraps for so long, the wait was finally over for the big reveal of our 2018 characters! On 16th November, we were so excited to tell the world that Gromit would be returning for his second starring role in our award-winning trails, but this time he’ll be joined by best pal Wallace and arch-nemesis Feather’s McGraw. Since then, we’ve been overwhelmed by your responses and can’t wait to reveal more as we approach 2nd July 2018!
December was a very busy and festive time for us all! The generosity of the community across the South West never ceases to astound and amaze us, and it means we’re able to fund a whole host of festive activities in the play centre. A sensory nativity show, Christmas cards workshops, glass decoration making, ukele workshops, and animation and drumming sessions are just a handful of festive and fun activities that the young patients at Bristol Children’s Hospital have been able to enjoy this month, thanks to your donations,
We would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who generously donated Christmas presents through our Amazon wishlist. We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to purchase a gift, and to the companies who kindly donated a large number of toys and games!
That’s it for 2017, and what a year it has been. Thanks to your incredible support, we have been able to make a difference to thousands of sick children and babies cared for by the doctors,nurses and other wonderful staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital. You are truly the best supporters in the world, and we can’t wait for 2018, continuing to support and save little lives across the South West.