History

1995

Founded in 1995, the Grand Appeal aimed to raise £11m for a new building for Bristol Children’s Hospital to replace the 1866 Victorian building on St Michael’s Hill. Nick Park, Peter Lord, and David Sproxton of Bristol's Aardman allow the Appeal to use Wallace & Gromit to spearhead the fundraising.  The Appeal celebrates with the first donation of £1 million from the Bristol based John James Foundation.

1996

Generous donations from private donors, philanthropic organisations, grant-making trusts and companies help the Appeal to gain momentum. A location for the new Children’s Hospital is found on Upper Maudlin Street, adjacent to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and amongst this surge of support, building work on the new hospital begins.

1997

The Appeal goes public in July with the first ever ‘Wrong Trousers Day’, based on Aardman’s Oscar winning Wallace & Gromit film. The campaign immediately takes the South West by storm, with hundreds of thousands of people from Bristol and beyond taking part.

1998

The public Appeal is in full swing, with millions of people supporting the cause through running events, skydives, cycling treks, knit-a-thons, cake sales, and fundraising in schools and workplaces. Wrong Trousers Day makes a grand comeback with Wrong Trousers Day 2: 'What a Turn Up!'

1999

The Prince of Wales visits Bristol to view the plans for the new hospital building and endorses the Appeal by inviting donors, guests and staff to visit Highgrove for a special reception, including a tour of the gardens.

2000

In anticipation of the hospital’s opening, the Appeal funds 150 pull-down beds next to each in-patient bed, ensuring that parents will be able to stay with their child during treatment.  The new building for the Hospital nears completion as the Appeal celebrates reaching the £11 million fundraising target.

2001

The new purpose-built building for Bristol Children’s Hospital opens in April with around 100 patients transferred from the old Victorian hospital building to the new state-of-the-art facility. The iconic ‘Lollipop’ sculpture which stands outside the Children’s Hospital funded by the Grand Appeal is erected.  The Grand Appeal fundraising total reaches an incredible £12  million.  The Prince of Wales performs the opening ceremony for the new Hospital and meets patients in the new building.

2002

The Grand Appeal funds dedicated family accommodation at Ronald McDonald House with a  grant of over £500,000, to provide free accommodation for families of patients in Bristol Children’s Hospital. The Princess Royal visits the hospital to open a dedicated paediatric MRI scanner funded by The Grand Appeal at a cost of £1.3 million: the first of its kind in the South West.

2003

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity is established to support sick children in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. The charity starts providing grants to innovative projects designed to give young patients a better and brighter future.  The charity is launched with the first national Wrong Trousers Day featuring celebrities such as Gary Lineker, Ainsley Harriott and Michael Palin.

2004

The Grand Appeal funds a dynamic Music Therapy service at Bristol Children’s Hospital  helping children suffering from complex communication conditions and patients in long-term provision and isolation to overcome the emotional demands of their hospital stay.

2005

The Grand Appeal funds a ground-breaking limb reconstruction unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital to pioneer treatments for children from Bristol, the South West and South Wales with complex deformities and severe mobility issues.

2006

John Wilkins, former paratrooper and skydiver extraordinaire celebrates nearly 10 years of volunteering and fundraising for the Appeal by raising over £150,000 for the Grand Appeal encouraging over one thousand brave people to jump out of plane in aid of Bristol Children’s Hospital.  What a star!

2007

Brothers Lee and Paul Brailsford host what is to become their annual Christmas lights spectacular at their home in Brentry to raise funds for the Grand Appeal.  Lee and Paul create an incredible annual display which attracts visitors from all over the UK and have so far raised an incredible £40,000. Dave Skelhorne & Gary Nott begin regular tours of the University of Bristol’s Wills Tower and Great George Bell which was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1925 before being badly damaged during the Blitz in 1940. Proceeds from the tours are donated to the Grand Appeal raising over £20,000.

2008

With an initial target of £5,000 Paula Banks & her family set up a Star Tribute Fund to raise funds in memory of her son Jack who lost his battle to cancer in 2008, aged 9.  Paula begins what will be an extraordinary journey that will raise over £100,000 for the Grand Appeal to support the Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

2009

The Charity is proud to work with the John Lewis Partnership and their stores throughout the UK to raise funds.  John Lewis partners nationwide take the cause to heart and raise an incredible £250k in their most successful staff Charity of the Year partnership.

2010

The £1m Cots for Tots Appeal is launched in partnership with the Bristol Evening Post to provide four life-saving Intensive Care Cots in a dedicated Intensive Care Suite at the Special Care Baby Unit at St Michael’s Hospital.  The Appeal will also fund a new family accommodation unit for parents of critically ill babies at St Michael’s Hospital – Cots for Tots House. Volunteer Gill Bowen visits Buckingham Palace to honour her 15 years of service at the Grand Appeal.

2011

Bristol Children’s Hospital celebrates its 10th birthday, with the Appeal leading celebrations and providing commemorative souvenirs for patients.  Matt Cardle, X Factor winner visits the Hospital to celebrate with patients. The Appeal also funds a new child-friendly website for patients and their families and the refurbishment of the Accident and Emergency Department at the hospital to provide a warm and welcoming environment for visitors and families.

2012

The £1 million Cots for Tots Appeal is complete.  Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex GCVO visits Bristol to open the new Cots for Tots Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, and  Cots for Tots House, a 12-bedroom House providing free family accommodation for the parents of critically ill babies in the Intensive Care unit.

2013

The Appeal launches Gromit Unleashed - a charity arts trail featuring 80 giant sculptures of Gromit decorated by artists, celebrities and designers.  The campaign is a phenomenal success, raising £2.3 million at auction and gaining legions of fans. The Appeal helps to fund the new adolescent unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

2014

The Grand Appeal makes a grant of £5m to Bristol Children’s Hospital towards funding the expansion of the hospital and the centralization of all paediatric services in Bristol.  The Appeal funds a new cardiac hybrid theatre, 3T MRI scanner and intra-operative scanning suite, burns and neurosciences facilities, and child-friendly artwork throughout the hospital. ‘Stats the Way to do it, Lad!’ Gromit takes up residence in the Hospital to celebrate!

2015

The Appeal launches the much-anticipated follow up to Gromit Unleashed, ‘Shaun in the City’, with 120 sculptures of Shaun the Sheep appearing throughout London and Bristol in the spring and summer of 2015. Cots for Tots House celebrates its third anniversary, with the Appeal having provided accommodation for 600 families from Bristol, the South West, South Wales and throughout the UK.

2016

The Grand Appeal celebrates raising £40 million in it's 21st Anniversary year and joins with Bristol Children’s Hospital to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the hospital. From humble beginnings in 1866, provided only thanks to local philanthropists including Mark Whitwill, the children’s hospital in Bristol is now a national and international centre of excellence. The Grand Appeal is proud to carry on the philanthropic traditions and looks forward to raising a further £40 million for the hospital in the years to come.