Local children’s charity Jessie May has received a donation of £40,000 from World Championship title sponsor Betfred, to mark 40 years of snooker at the Crucible.
Jessie May, which provides hospice at home care for terminally ill children in Bristol, Bath, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, was chosen as World Snooker’s official charity partner for the 2016/17 season.
At the start of the World Championship tournament in Sheffield, Betfred pledged £200 for every century made during the 17-day event, to be rounded up to £40,000 if the total hit 80 centuries.
When the target of 80 centuries was not reached, Betfred boss Fred Done generously rounded up the total anyway.
He said: “The players may not have hit 80 centuries, but the snooker on the 40th anniversary of the Crucible has been magical and so that’s why I’ve decided to donate the £40,000 to Jessie May which does an amazing job and is a very worthy cause.”
Lindsey Horton, corporate partnerships officer for Jessie May, added: “This is such a wonderful donation from Betfred and we are thrilled and amazed by the generosity. The money will make a huge difference to the children and families we care for.”
As well as the donation, the partnership with World Snooker has resulted in some exciting national exposure for the local charity.
The team at Jessie May has been travelling all over the country to raise money at World Snooker events throughout the season, and so far an additional £40,000 has been raised with bucket collections, raffle tickets and generous donations from tournament supporters.
Julian Withers, head of fundraising at Jessie May, said: “The response to having been named charity partner of World Snooker has been phenomenal, I don’t think we ever imagined how big it would be!
“The snooker players, commentators, and the whole team at World Snooker have really thrown their support behind Jessie May; wearing their Jessie May badges and talking about us in post-game interviews. They’ve also been showing a video about how Jessie May helps families and children to audiences at tournaments around the country.
“The Betfred donation really is the icing on the cake and we’re so grateful to Fred for pledging the money even though the original target wasn’t reached.
“The backing is just outstanding and it’s been lovely to see the support from around the UK from people who have never heard of us before. The fantastic media coverage and general exposure really is vital to a small, local charity like ours.”
Last year World Snooker Chairman, Barry Hearn, visited Bristol to meet nurses and some of the children cared for by Jessie May.
This year Barry will be hosting a special evening at Ashton Gate, along with Snooker legend Steve Davis. Tickets for the 19th October event are on sale now.
Jessie May is currently caring for 129 terminally ill children in the area and a further 41 bereaved families.
For more information visit www.jessiemay.org.uk.