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Started by a family, for families, and now shaped by families

The Jessie May Trust was established by parents Chris and Philippa Purrington following the death of their baby daughter, Jessica May, in September 1994. 

Jessica died from a genetic condition known as severe Spinal Muscular Atrophy when she was only 4 ½ months old.

Jessica was cared for by her family, in her own home, throughout her illness. 

She died peacefully at home in her father’s arms; in privacy, with dignity and surrounded by all those who loved her.

Jessica May Purrington, 12th May 1994 – 24th September 1994

Jessica May Purrington

During a visit to the family in Bristol, Jessica was admitted to the local children’s hospital in Southmead. It was here that the family learnt that the incredible support that they received in High Wycombe was not available to families who care for their child at home in the Bristol area. 

The Purrington’s were determined to do what they could to make sure that other children with condition’s like Jessica’s, and their families, could access support in their own homes and have the choice to die at home when the time comes. After a lot of hard work and perseverance, initial funding was secured and Jessie May was officially launched in 1996.

Now known as Jessie May, we as a charity provide specialist nursing care for terminally ill children in their own homes. We offer end of life care and bereavement support, as well as vital respite sessions and emotional support to those children’s families. This allows families to make the most of the precious time they have together and to create treasured family memories. 

Over the last 26 years the charity has supported over 300 children and their families across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset, and Swindon & Wiltshire.