On 17th November 2003, the charity’s co-founders, Jo and Andy Priaulx, welcomed the arrival of their second child, Danniella, 5 weeks early, which would also become World Prematurity Day from 2008. She was born by emergency c-section and required urgent breathing support in hospital. This was a few years after their son Sebastian spent 4 weeks in Northampton’s Special Care Unit, weighing just 3lbs and 4oz. Both Dannii and Seb inspired their parents to do something for future families going through challenging times with a preemie. And so, the PPBF was born on the same day as Dannii, and the charity has since extended its remit to include critically ill children. Support ranges from the PPBF’s compassionate housing in Southampton for families needing to seek off-island treatment and providing equipment for Guernsey’s Special Care Unit, to Baby Boxes. There are also more tailored areas of work that offer emotional and practical support to families who are in need of reassurance, guidance and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.
A few words from the PPBF’s Chairman
The charity’s Chairman, Richard Le Tocq shares a few words, having been involved with the PPBF for two decades:
‘From the very first conversation in 2003 to the recent discussion at our trustee meeting about how we can help more people, the 20 year journey has been amazing! The support that the PPBF has received has been incredible – from the army of knitters to the world record breaking rower, the bingo to the Blingo, and everyone else, the support has been fantastic. There are so many memories and two that stand out for me. The first being awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS – the MBE for those in the voluntary sector) in 2016. The award was brilliant recognition for the PPBF team, great in terms of raising our profile and really helped our fundraising at a vital point in the charity’s journey. I’m particularly proud of establishing the ambassador programme. To have the teams’ efforts boosted by twelve dedicated supporters has really paid dividends. I was delighted that Deputy Bailiff Jessica Roland accepted the position of Patron. The future of charity is bright and well-placed to continue to support the families of premature babies and critically ill children into the future. Our support for them depends on your continued support for us. Thank you.’
A snapshot of the last 20 years
2003 – 2007 – The PPBF held their first big event with SPF Private Clients, raising £45,000 for an incubator at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. This was intended to be a ‘one-off’ but the overwhelming response inspired Jo to do more. In subsequent years, the PPBF raised funds for a photo printer so that every mum with a premature baby staying in the hospital could have a photo of their newborn by their side – just like Jo did. A brain monitor was then bought for the hospital to help with the detection of seizures in sedated or ventilated babies. During the charity’s early days, Grant Thornton became the PPBF’s auditors and have been supporting the team for 20 years.
2008 – The first ever ‘World Prematurity Day’ was recognised at a global scale, focusing on the reality that 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely. £22,000 was raised by the PPBF to purchase a ventilator and three hot cots for the hospital. The ventilator was able to help children right up to the age of 12, encouraging the PPBF to expand its age remit to include children and teenagers with life threatening health conditions.
2009 – 2010 – The PPBF welcomed two new, friendly faces. Ali Lihou came on board to help with the day-to-day running of the charity including compassionate housing coordination. This was an important time for developing new relationships as the charity began working more closely with on-island specialists to establish long and short-term fundraising goals for hospital equipment and training aids. Sammy Meerveld also joined the PPBF after a close friend gave birth 10 weeks early and has been involved ever since.
2011 – Isaac Pickford was born at 34 weeks and 5 days to Guernsey couple Robert and Jo Pickford. He was severely ill and was rushed to the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton where the Pickford family were told to prepare for a longer stay in the UK than expected. After surgery, days on a ventilator and even the possibility of a cystic fibrosis diagnosis, Isaac thankfully recovered well. Leaving Isaac on the ward was a very challenging part of Jo and Rob’s time in an unfamiliar place, as they needed to catch a bus between their hotel and the hospital. One day, they noticed a block of flats right next to Southampton Hospital and decided that they would fundraise to purchase one for other families needing somewhere to stay. However, the wheels had already been set in motion by Isaac’s grandparents who would go on to make ‘Isaac’s Pad’ a reality – the PPBF’s very first, two-bedroom flat for those seeking off-island care. In the same year, newborn Maicie Pond received care on Guernsey’s Neonatal Unit and inspired her parents, Tim and Nikki Pond, to become more involved with the charity through fundraising and volunteering.
2013 – The PPBF celebrated their 10th anniversary at St Pierre Park Hotel and, to mark the occasion, Becky Rowe Jewellery commissioned a special ‘Dannii Bear’ pewter photo holder to include in each Baby Box for families staying on Guernsey’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
2015 – One of the charity’s biggest achievements was receiving royal recognition through the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award given to any voluntary group. This prestigious award was celebrated at the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, honouring the hard work of charities across the country. The ‘Buy-A-Brick’ campaign was officially launched in partnership with Investec featuring eye-catching creative by Steph Brun who perfectly captured the charity’s look and feel for many years. The aim was to raise £150,000 for the purchase of a second flat next to Southampton Hospital, which would be known as ‘The Burrow’. In 2015, Brehon came on board with accounting support, and have been friends of the PPBF for almost a decade.
2016 – Many islanders may remember ‘A Right Royal Affair’ which took place at St James. This was to celebrate the PPBF’s royal award, with the help of Investec and Fiona Murray Events. Nick Leale from Investec would later become a PPBF Ambassador after his own experience with his children. ‘Fundraising Team of the Year’ was then presented to the PPBF by the Guernsey Community Foundation and Black Vanilla, who helped with the Buy-A-Brick campaign, won the Guernsey Awards for Achievement’s ‘Excellence in Marketing Award’ for their work. £50,000 was donated to the Buy-A-Brick campaign through a charitable trust set up by Mr Jim Wilkinson, and his late wife Peggy. Meanwhile, Guy Hardill became a Trustee of the PPBF, inspired by the premature birth of his son, Jake. Years after, Guy’s wife Jo Hardill, would swim the English Channel with a team, raising funds for the PPBF and Diabetes Guernsey – despite her own Type 1 diagnosis.
2017 – A grand total of £270,000 was raised by the Buy-A-Brick campaign which surpassed the initial target much earlier than expected. The PPBF’s second flat was purchased, with assistance from Collas Crill, thanks to Anna Douglass, who would then become involved in the purchase of a third flat. The two-bedroom property, located in the building next to Isaac’s Pad in Southampton was named in honour of Aggie Nicolle, who sadly lost her battle with neuroblastoma in 2016. Aggie’s family stayed in the PPBF’s compassionate housing during this unimaginably difficult time and continue to support the charity in memory of their beloved daughter. Aggie’s father, Hubert Nicolle, would go on to become a PPBF Ambassador.
2019 – The very first ‘Blingo’ event, the brainchild of PPBF Ambassador Susie Campanella, was held and continues to grow in popularity. It attracts islanders who are keen to dress to the nines, enjoy a fun, competitive atmosphere and dance the night away, while raising funds in the process. The late Andy Stewart kindly co-sponsored Blingo for a few years through The Andy Stewart Foundation and was remembered at the 2022 event. Blingo continues to take place annually and is made possible by corporate supporters – most recently Catherine Best, A7 Design and DWA. Exciting 2024 ‘Blingo’ plans are in motion. Meanwhile, out in the Channel, Ambassador Tim Pond became the first Guernseyman to swim from Jersey to France, raising thousands for the PPBF while Chairman, Richard Le Tocq completed his Great North Run fundraiser.
2020 – An ambassador programme was launched by the PPBF, along with a brand new website. The Lieutenant-Governor presented special pin badges to 10 Guernsey-based Ambassadors and two Honorary Ambassadors – Sebastian and Danniella Priaulx – who took on the role of helping to raise awareness of the charity across the community. During this event, the PPBF also announced the appointment of the charity’s Patron – Guernsey’s first female Deputy Bailiff, Jessica Roland. Collas Crill chose the PPBF as their Charity of Choice for this year – Senior Partner, Jason Green, continues to be a long-term supporter of the charity’s work through the ambassador programme. This was also the year that the Sure Marathon decided to support the PPBF annually with mums including Emma Nicolle and Jo Hardill getting involved in following years.
2021 – An incredible challenge, ‘Row24Solo’ was taken on by Guernseyman Simon Johns. Simon broke a world record for his 24-hour solo indoor row, raising £35,000 split between the PPBF and Bright Tights. The challenge was inspired by the premature birth of Florie Coquelin as her dad, James, is a very close friend of Simon Johns and his family. Praxis, Ravenscroft and TPA became official supporters of the event. 302,515 metres were rowed in 24 hours and Simon went on to be shortlisted for a ‘Pride of Britain’ award. Aggie Nicolle’s mum, Emma, organised an ‘Aggie’s Angels’ children’s race as part of the 2021 Guernsey Marathon, and the PPBF was a chosen charity during the 2021 Skipton Swimarathon, which ended up being a record-breaking year.
2022 – The PPBF’s brand new ‘Buy-A-Night’ campaign was launched, with Hand Picked Hotels, to support the ongoing running and maintenance costs of its compassionate housing next to Southampton Hospital. An online platform was launched (created by Alex Campanella) so that individuals can buy a night to support the PPBF’s from just £5 per month which involves choosing a special date, with the option of dedicating this donation to a loved one. Businesses can get involved too by using the PPBF’s online corporate calendar to buy weeks or months for their chosen flat, featuring their logo across selected date ranges. A new mascot was introduced with the campaign launch – Nighty the Owl – featuring across the PPBF’s creative as the ‘guardian’ of the charity’s compassionate housing, ensuring that families are having a good night’s sleep. Additionally, the PPBF welcomed Stephie Gordon as a Marketing Executive, Alexis Morgan as an Ambassador and Pete Beausire as a Trustee. Pete has supported the charity through his role at Le Mont Saint Garage and was part of the JGA Epic Week team who took on 7 marathons in 7 days earlier this year. Over £20,000 was raised for the PPBF and This Is Epic.
2023 – Three sets of doors were opened this year. Firstly, Frankie’s Den, the third addition to the PPBF’s compassionate housing, officially opened in September thanks to Ken and Linda Acott, with purchasing support from Ferbrache & Farrell. Secondly, the PPBF moved its base to an office space at Picquet House, with new neighbours – the Bailiwick Express. Lastly, Guernsey’s ‘NICU’ became the newly refurbished ‘Special Care Unit.’ There were further additions to the PPBF team with Dave Clark joining as Treasurer and Fiona Gomes as Secretary. To bring the community together during such an important year, Guernsey’s neonatal nurses decided to host a ‘Family Fun Day’ to celebrate 20 years of working with the PPBF. At the same time, World Prematurity Day marked 15 years of work, with the theme ‘Small actions – big impact’.
‘We could never have imagined that starting our own little family over 20 years ago would lead to something so special and life-changing for the community. The PPBF is one of our greatest achievements and looking back on our journey has us bursting with pride. Every single friend of the PPBF is a huge part of making the magic happen. Each time a family thanks us or shares their story with the team, it reminds us why we’re doing this. Whether you’ve ran a marathon, swam for us, attended a fundraiser, sponsored us, shook buckets at events, taken on challenges or even jumped out of a plane, we’d like to thank absolutely everyone who has been involved over the last two decades. Here’s to the next 20 years!’ – Jo and Andy Priaulx.
As part of the celebrations, Fort Grey will be lit up in purple on this special day, thanks to Guernsey Museums and photographed by Chris George. You can also tune into a Platinum Podcast hosted by Laura Clayton from the Bailiwick Express with Andy, Jo and Richard reflecting on the last two decades.