A cue sports competition organised by a Norwich dad has raised over £1,700 for The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported his family while his baby daughter underwent major surgery in Cambridge at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jasmine Cross. Credit: Jimmy Cross
Just two days after being born via planned caesarean section at The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge in 2020, Jasmine Cross – who has myelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida – needed surgery to remove a nerve-filled sac the size of a cricket ball from the base of her spine. Throughout Jasmine’s three-week spell in hospital, parents Jimmy and Lana Cross, from New Costessey, were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that provides a welcoming ‘Home from Home’ where families with a sick child in hospital can stay, free of charge.
Staying at the charity’s Chestnut House ‘Home from Home’, located onsite just minutes from baby Jasmine’s hospital bedside, the family were able to stay together while she recovered from her ordeal. To thank the charity, in May Jimmy Cross organised a special fundraiser at Pinches Cue Club on Barker Street, with support coming from venue owner and long-time professional snooker player Barry Pinches.
Jimmy Cross, Barry Pinches and charity representative Richard Stainthorpe. Credit: Pinches Cue Club.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about how much money we raised for this fantastic charity who helped us in our time of need, it has surpassed all our expectations”, said Jimmy, an enthusiastic snooker player and qualified coach. “It was a brilliant day, with various snooker and pool competitions, shoot-out challenges, coaching sessions and even a raffle and auction, with loads of people getting involved. We even had some local businesses making donations, which was fantastic.
“It cost the charity around £40 to support a family for one night at their ‘Homes from Home’, so we have made a big contribution towards helping other families who might find themselves in the same position as we did, being many miles away from home and not knowing where to turn. I’m grateful to Barry and everyone at Pinches Cue Club for putting on such a great day, with a big thanks to David Willimott and Anthony Blyth for helping to organise the pool and snooker tournaments.”
George Pragnell (centre), flanked by Barry Pinches (L) and Jimmy Cross (R), was the winner of the snooker competition. Credit: Pinches Cue Club.
Speaking about his desire to host the event, local snooker hero Barry Pinches – a professional since the late 1980s who has defeated the likes of multiple world champions Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams in his time – said: “I’ve known Jimmy a long time, so when he approached me about doing this fundraiser for a charity that helps the families of poorly children in such an important way, I was only too happy to help. It was a pleasure to help support such a good cause.”
In addition to numerous cue sports enthusiasts, Jimmy’s family were also in attendance on the day, including daughter Jasmine, who turns three in August. “Jasmine is doing great these days”, said Jimmy. “She’s a happy little girl but complications can come at any time which is a concern. Every day is a blessing though. We know it could’ve been a lot worse and want to thank all those that helped us and continue to.”
Robbie Riches (centre left) and Karl Sutton (centre right) were winners of the pool competition. Credit: Pinches Cue Club.
“We would’ve had to get a hotel without Chestnut House – it would’ve cost thousands of pounds. If we didn’t get a hotel, I would’ve driven from Norwich every day and that just wouldn’t have been good. All you want is to be there and to find out we could be there because of a charity, I was really touched. I cannot thank them enough for everything they did for us.”
Jimmy and Barry presented a cheque to charity representative and fellow Norwich resident Richard Stainthorpe at Pinches Cue Club on Sunday 16 July.
“Jimmy has been a passionate supporter of The Sick Children’s Trust ever since his stay in Cambridge, always keen to raise awareness about what we do”, said Richard. “We are incredibly grateful to him for putting together this fantastic fundraiser, and to Barry and everyone at Pinches Cue Club for hosting such a wonderful event. The charity’s ‘Homes from Home’ are so much more than bricks and mortar, with friendly, caring staff providing vital support to families when they need it most.”
The Cross Family. Credit: Jimmy Cross.