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.
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.
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.
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!'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Brothers Lee and Paul Brailsford host what is to become their annual Christmas lights spectacular at their home in Brentry to raise over 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Grand Appeal celebrated 21 years of support for Bristol Children’s Hospital in 2016. The Grand Appeal continued its proud tradition of supporting sick babies and children by raising £1.5 million to provide a new Family Accommodation House for parents and families of patients in Bristol Children’s Hospital, which will open in 2017. Read more about the Hospital’s history here
The Grand Appeal is proud to support the outstanding clinical staff at Bristol Children's Hospital who save lives, and to continue to invest in research to improve the outcomes for sick children in Bristol and beyond. In 2017, we will be enhancing the children's Oncology Unit to ensure that the bedrooms are welcoming and engaging for patients who stay for up to 6 months. We will be funding life-saving equipment for the regional intensive care units for babies and for children, to equip them with the best possible medical facilities to save more lives.