Jennifer Bannon: An annual memorial fundraiser was once again held Saturday for the beloved mother, sister and daughter

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Friends, family, homemade baked goods and a dunk tank filled up a corner of Maitland and Pall Mall streets near downtown London Saturday.

The Bag Lady, a neighbourhood deli and vintage variety store, held their fourth annual Jennifer Bannon Memorial Fundraiser throughout the afternoon as Londoners stopped by for food in the restaurant’s parking lot and patio.

Jane Beattie, the deli’s owner, started hosting these fundraisers four years ago in memory of her sister, Jennifer Bannon, who died after a battle with mental illness. While the topic is sad, the fundraiser was filled with smiles, games and old friends and family reuniting.

“My sister was a wonderful woman,” Beattie said. “She was a single mom, she loved to travel the world . . . and she just loved to help people.”

Beattie said her sister received help from the Women’s Community House in London, now known as Anova. She even resided there during the last month of her life. Beattie said the organization was good to her sister, so the family decided to give 100 per cent of the proceeds from the fundraiser to it.

In previous years, they have been able to raise around $4,000 annually.

“It’s getting bigger and better,” Beattie said.

“People are really happy to support Women’s Community House because I think they know what a great thing they are for the city.”

Jennifer Bannon’s family members travelled far just to come to the event. Her son, who is now 23, visited from Banff to volunteer while Jane and Jennifer’s brother and his family came from Germany. The siblings’ parents, who are from Grand Bend, were also there to help out.

“She struggled with mental illness for a long time,” Beattie said. “But this is a great way to honour her and remember her.” 

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