Walkers pay tribute to popular teaching assistant

Bury Times: Paula Banks Paula Banks

CROWDS of friends and family put their best foot forward in honour of a well-loved teaching assistant who died after battling leukaemia for nearly two and a half years.

Last Sunday, about 200 people took part in a three-mile charity walk through Sunnybank to remember mother-of-two Paula Banks, who died in Bury Hospice in February, aged 40.

Since her death her husband Tony, children Joseph, aged 14, and Libby, aged 10, and friends and family have raised thousands for the hospice through the Paula’s Wish fund.

The walk was organised by Barbara Philips, Kelly Morgan, Claire Shaw and Niamh Harrington, from Bliss Beauty Rooms in Sunnybank Road, and raised at least £2,200.

Barbara said: “It went amazingly well —we had a really good turnout and raised far more money than we had aimed to.

“I want to thank everybody for turning up and joining in. We took all the leftover cake into Bury Hospice for the patients, staff and volunteers there which was lovely.”

Barbara said she hoped the money could be put towards purchasing a particular piece of equipment for the hospice to help make patients more comfortable during their stay.

Paula, who lived in Normandy Crescent, Radcliffe, was diagnosed with leukaemia in autumn 2011 and had been a teaching assistant at St Mary’s RC Primary School, Radcliffe, for eight years.

Fundraising continues this Sunday when five of her fearless friends are set to complete a daredevil skydive, having already raised £7,000. 

Taking part are Amanda Grech, Kerrie Nesfield, Paddy Connell, Mark Worthington and Paula's brother-in-law Tom Farley. 

Mother-of-three Amanda, aged 34, of St Andrew's Road, Radcliffe, knew Paula for more than 10 years and said fundraising had helped everyone come to terms with losing her. 

She added: "The skydive was an omen, because the morning Paula died I received an email about skydiving for Bury Hospice. It all sparked from that. 

"If I have learnt anything from losing Paula, it is to make positives out of the negatives. It is brilliant we have been able to help Bury Hospice." 

To make a donation: go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/PaulasWish

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