DEC 2020

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 dependable 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.’

Please see updates and achievements of our bursary students  

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.

March 2019 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Heartfelt thanks to you all for your past and continuing support of the Sam Banks Memorial Fund and the vital work of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka.

Here’s a little update on what’s coming up with the fund.

Tanvir Murad Topu, the Head of Photography at Pathshala, will be visiting Graham and Louise in Devon over the weekend of 29th-31st March during his UK lecture tour (he’s speaking in Sunderland, Bristol and Plymouth). Together with Liz Wells (Professor in Photographic Culture, University of Plymouth) – who also lives in Lympstone and has herself lectured at Pathshala – they are hosting a tea reception for Tanvir and his wife at the Lympstone Sailing Club. There will be a short presentation by Tanvir and a display of photographic works by our most recent Sam Banks scholarship students: Hasan Zobayer, Istiak Karim, Omar Faraque and Sounak Das.

Since the inception of the fund a year after Sam’s death, we have provided £40,300 to help support more than 20 low-income Dhaka students through their photography studies. Regular news from the college staff have kept us informed of how they are progressing as well as from friends of ours and Sam’s who have worked at or visited Pathshala, and messages directly from students themselves. Some have gone on to win prestigious prizes, places on international workshops and to work for renowned photography agencies.

2019 is going to be a bit quieter than previous years in terms of fundraising events. We’re scaling back the annual memorial cricket match this summer so that it will just be a cricket match with no frills – no barbecue, bar or live music in the evening this time. We wanted to leave this incredibly special but logistically demanding event on a high and the time feels right to bring it to a close. Thank you to everyone who has helped make it such a wonderful celebration of Sam’s life over the years. This year’s match between the Earl of Rochester’s XI and the Old Duns – teams made up of Sam’s friends, family and teachers – will take place at Bedales School, Hampshire, on Saturday 13 July. You are very welcome to attend, but remember – the only refreshments provided will be for the cricketers’ tea!

After this brief hiatus we want to return in 2020 – the year Sam would have turned 30 – with a bang. We’re planning to take the musical talent and energy on display during those nights in the marquee at Steep and put it on a stage in London for an intimate evening of high-quality live music. If you know of a venue with a bar that might be amenable to hosting this on a weeknight next Spring, please get in touch with Joe or Kate, who are currently scouting for a suitable location. We hope to once again create an event imbued with Sam’s spirit that will also raise the money needed to give these young people in Dhaka a chance of a career that would otherwise be beyond their reach.

Last year’s sudden incarceration of Pathshala’s founder, the photojournalist and social activist Shaidul Alam, only goes to underline the importance of a vigorous media and creative sector in Bangladesh, and a citizenry equipped with the tools to truthfully and effectively reflect their social reality to the rest of the world.

For the latest news about the fund and details on how to donate please visit our website which can now be found at

We look forward to seeing you all again soon and many thanks again for your support,

The Banks Family