The seeds of fundraising
416. Martin Banbury
A Leamington businessman founded the Acorns Coventry & Warwickshire Fundraising Group which has since raised over £750,000 for children with life-limiting illnesses.
In 1990, Martin set up the fundraising group in Coventry to raise money for the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust, which provides specialist palliative care to life-limited and life-threatened children and young people, as well as emotional and practical support to the whole family.
Martin and the group organise many fundraising events, including golf days, charity dinners, race-days, afternoon teas and quiz nights. In 2011, Martin and his wife Felicity cycled 400 km from Vietnam to Cambodia, raising over £24,000 between them in the process.
The group celebrated its 25th anniversary in November 2015, and under Martin’s leadership during that time it has raised over £750,000 for Acorns, with a formidable current annual target of £50,000.
Martin launched the group after he heard about Acorns at one of his children’s school parents evening and arranged to visit Acorns hospice in Selly Oak, Birmingham. There he met some of the staff and children and saw the impact of the charity’s work first hand, which motivated him to start the fundraising group. Martin is assisted by his wife, Felicity, and a small dedicated group of like-minded volunteer friends, who all enjoy the challenge of raising awareness in the local community and raising these much needed funds.
Over the years, Martin has inspired many other people to volunteer their time and effort for this very worthy cause. All of the money raised by the group has gone towards helping children involved with Acorns. In the last year, Acorns has cared for 23 children up to the age of 18, and provided support to 33 families from just the Coventry area, including those who are bereaved.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Martin has worked tirelessly over the last 25 years to raise a fantastic amount of money for Acorns children’s hospices. As well as leading the team in Coventry to raise money throughout the year, Martin has gone the extra mile by cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia. I am delighted to recognise Martin as the UK’s 416th Point of Light.”
“I am extremely pleased and honoured to receive this unexpected award. I am so fortunate to have a great team working with me to hopefully ensure that the special service provided by everyone at Acorns can continue to benefit life limited children and their families in our local area.”