Message from the Banks Family

January 2021

The most recent news is that of Louise’s Swim for Sam fund raiser. Please follow  http://link

(INSERT UPDATE: I did it! I completed the sponsored swim in the Exe estuary, Devon and raised just over £5,500! Thank you all so much for your support. Donations came in as I swam every day in February at high tides, in water temperatures ranging from 2 – 9 degrees, through snow, the Beast from the East, rain, moonlight and finally sun. Covering a daily distance of up to 1.1k in a swimsuit in the estuary at the end of our road, my initial goal was to swim seven miles over the course of the month but by the end managed eight and a half.)

Back to original blog..
Louise will be swimming every day throughout February 2021 in the Exe Estuary. This is to raise money in memory of her son Sam. She will cover a daily distance of 400 metres (weather permitting), no wetsuit, in chilly tidal waters! By the end of month she will have swum 7 miles. Sponsor money will go to support students studying photo journalism at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka. Just two weeks before Sam died he learnt that he had been accepted to study film and photography at LCC. Examples of Sam Banks bursary students’ photography (past and present) on the theme of water, will accompany post updates. The covid pandemic has hit low income families in Dhaka particularly hard and the students are more than ever in need of support right now.Updates of swim progress will be posted on and instagram sambanksfund2010

We would like to thank all those who have continued giving us support in what has been a very difficult year for fundraising.  The number of those giving regularly by standing order has increased this year which gives us a more of a regular income, and we hope to build on this in 2021.  The total amount transferred from the Fund to Pathshala since Sam died now stands at £51,300.

We recently paid this year’s £5,500 and have heard back from them that in the coming year this will support seven students: one with a full year’s bursary and six with half year bursaries.  They wrote: ‘This time we had received a larger number of applicants than usual as due to the pandemic many of our students are going through financial struggles. Considering the ongoing situation, we have decided to split the bursary into seven students instead of just four students like before as it will provide the support to continue their studies.’


For 2020 our major fund raiser would have been a music event in London, happening on May 6th, organised by Kate and Joe. Unfortunately due to lockdown we have had to postpone this. More information and revised details to follow shortly. Meanwhile to make up for lost income that would have gone towards our annual bursary contributions, we have been raising money on the Sam Banks Memorial Fund Facebook page:

by posting up weekly village street music sessions.

On 21st June 2010, Sam sent an email from India to the Admissions Office of London College of Communication, immediately after hearing that he had received a place to study Film and Television Production:

“Thank you so much for the offer. I must admit I had given up hope of managing a place and this has come as a complete shock, but I cannot tell you how totally and utterly over the moon I am. So without a moment’s hesitation I accept. Thank you very much, you’ve made me incredibly happy!”

Four days later Sam died, struck down with peritonitis in Delhi.

The sentiment of his message has been our motivation for supporting other young people – equally as driven to study a subject close to their heart. Although Sam’s dream of attending the course in Film and Television Production was sadly never realised his enthusiasm can continue to live on in the aspirations and achievements of others.

At Pathshala South Asia Media Institute, students who would otherwise not be able to continue their studies can be guaranteed a world-class training in photography through the Sam Banks Fund bursaries. We have very much valued updates about the institute and students from friends who have recently visited or are currently visiting Pathshala. Please see reports of visits by Max Aaronson and Vincent Hasselbach.

A full explanation of the Fund can be found here: Pathshala and the Sam Banks Memorial Fund

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