Bristol and Avon Group have exceeded their £100,000 fundraising target to support essential meningitis research
The Bristol-based transport and recycling company pledged their fundraising target in 2014 to fund vital vaccine research at Bristol university. B&A have a personal connection with Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, who sadly lost his son to the disease.
40 years ago Steve Dayman and his wife Gloria lost their little boy Spencer to Meningitis. At the time there was very little awareness or information about the disease, and no vaccines had been developed to fight against it. Since then, Steve has fought tirelessly to change this.
The work inspired by Spencer has led to five meningitis vaccines that are available on the NHS, and thousands of lives have been saved.
A pledge of support
B&A Group’s founders Jimmy Berkely and his wife Margaret, close friends of The Dayman Family, were inspired by Spencer’s story and have been supporting Meningitis Now for nearly 40 years. Jimmy sadly passed away in 2004 but three of his children, Kevin, Clare and Aidan have been running B&A Group ever since.
In 2014 they pledged to raise £100k to support vital research projects. They have exceeded this amazing target and continue to fundraise.
B&A Group’s specific fundraising aim was to help fund the pioneering vaccine programme taking place in the Spencer Dayman Laboratory at the University of Bristol, which has a goal of eradicating all strains of the meningitis virus.
B&A Group have approached their fundraising with flair and dedication from day one, with countless sporting challenges, cake sales, gala dinners and quizzes undertaken. B&A’s Social Value Co-Ordinator, Clare Raby has been instrumental in helping organize many of these events which has played a huge part in the company reaching this fantastic goal.
Last year a team of B&A runners attending the London Marathon with one participant, Dr Rob Lewis, dressed as a B&A tipper lorry. The team raised over £5,000 and certainly turned a few heads!
Even the Covid-19 pandemic couldn’t stop the dedicated team from working (or walking!) towards their fundraising goal. During October 2020, staff raised £1,324 by walking 21 miles with the added benefit of keeping healthy and motivated.
Proof of B&A’s lofty ambitions were made clear with the reveal of a jointly branded B&A and Meningitis Now hot air balloon.
Commissioned by the company, the balloon, named G-Jima in honour of Jimmy Berkely, raises awareness for the charity at events across the country.
Clare Berkely, B&A Director said; “We are so proud to have achieved such a significant milestone in our fundraising efforts for Meningitis Now. Donating in excess of £100,000 to such an important charity is a significant part of our company’s history.
“This fundraising milestone is testament to the dedication of our fantastic team. B&A Group have a number of people who raised money running marathons, climbing mountains, through salary sacrifice, cake sales, and many other community events organised over the last few years.
“Steve Dayman MBE is a huge inspiration to us as is the work Meningitis Now continue to do on a day to day basis. What we have done pales in comparison to the work that Steve and the charity have done over the years, however, we are proud to have been a small part of their incredible journey in ensuring everyone effected by meningitis gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.”
If you would like to find out more about how B&A reached their target see their pledge page.