THE memory of a “loving family man” has been celebrated with more than £3,300 raised for Bury Hospice.

Jay Banks, from Bury, died in November last year at the age of 41 after spending two weeks at the hospice in Rochdale Old Road.

The father-of-three had battled an illness for two years and leaves behind wife Mel, 12-year-old twins Caitlin and Ellisha, and four-year-old Evie.

Since his death, Jay’s friends have rallied together to support the hospice, raising £2,500 by completing a coast-to-coast bike ride and £850 through a charity party.

Mel, who lives in Bury, said: “Raising money for the hospice has meant so much, as it was something Jay had asked me to do. I don’t think you realise exactly what a hospice provides for the patients and their families — I certainly didn’t.

“I will always appreciate how all the staff looked after my Jay. They are true angels.

“This is why we wanted to support Bury Hospice — to help other patients and their families when they are going through the most horrific, painful time in their lives.”

Family friend Sharon Reeves, who lives in Radcliffe, held a fundraising bash at Radcliffe Boro FC for her 40th birthday.

Her husband Chris Reeves, who worked as a driver with Jay for many years, took part in a coast-to-coast cycle from Whitehaven to South Shields in April.

Also riding in the ‘Banky’s Not So Fast or Furious Team’ were Ste Cheetham and Cheldon Braithwaite and Bill Gibbon, Jay’s father-in-law, drove the safety car.

At Sharon’s party, personalised mugs were given to the coast-to-coast riders and four white doves were released by Mel, Caitlin Ellisha and Evie in memory of Jay.

Sharon said: “Jay was a loving family man who doted on Mel and his children.

“I can’t tell you how proud and overwhelmed Mel and I are to all of the coast-to-coast team for what they did.”

Sharon praised her 15-year-old niece Eleanor Hague, who sang on the evening, Helen Dixon, who donated cakes, caterer Ann Poxon, photographer Chris Lewis, DJ Gaz Hulmes and Radcliffe Boro for the venue.

She added: “I want to say a massive thank you to all the companies which made donations and also to my friends and family who came to share the night with me.

“They made it very special not just for me, but for Mel, Caitlin, Ellisha and Evie and the rest of Mel’s family.”