Charitable foundation set up in the name of ‘extraordinary girl’ Ellie

Ellie Thornton
Ellie Thornton

A charitable foundation has been established in the name of Ellie Thornton who died after a tragic road accident at Thakeham.

The Ellie Thornton Foundation has been set up by her father Ben Thornton and stepmother Vicky Thornton.

Ellie, aged 11, a pupil at Rydon Community College in Storrington, died in March 2017.

Ellie and a school friend were crossing the Storrington Road, in Thakeham, to reach a temporary school bus stop when she was in the accident with a van. She was airlifted by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance to St George’s Hospital, London where a week later she lost her fight for life from her brain injury.

Following questions that were raised at the coroner’s inquest a formal letter from the Coroner,Penelope Schofield, was sent to West Sussex County Council raising concerns over delays to traffic calming measures and the protocols for the risk assessment of temporary bus stops.

WSCC is now reviewing their standard operating practice (SOP) for the siting of bus stops, in particular, the suspension or temporary relocation of stops due to highway works.

Ben said that Ellie was an extraordinary girl with an extraordinary life, marked by her desire to have fun, her obsession with theme parks, and her ability to engage anyone in conversation. Ellie was worldly, resilient, bubbly and full of ideas and ambitions.

She wanted to help children who didn’t have the opportunities that she did and recognised that she was lucky to travel the world and have amazing family experiences. The Ellie Thornton Foundation will champion what was important to her, and what is important to her family, in her name.

Ellie’s father Ben had these words: “The pain of losing Ellie will never leave us, it will not diminish over time, however, we truly believe that to carry on, to be strong for our family, we need to grow around the grief. Vicky and I are determined to carry Ellie’s name forward, for there to be a legacy whereby Ellie continues to help others.”

The Ellie Thornton foundation has the following areas of interest;

- Grant making to support ‘Ellie Days’ for families who may struggle to facilitate fun days out for their children due to illness and incapacity

- Championing and advocacy for, and interventions to support, Road Safety for Children travelling to and from School

- Advocating and sharing information about for Equal Rights for Parents to support parents and children

- Supporting initiatives to help parents and siblings bereaved by the loss of a child

The Ellie Thornton Foundation will officially launch with “Ellie’s Star Gala” on her birthday, Tuesday, July 10 2018, held at Cissbury Barns, Findon.

This event will include a three-course meal, entertainment, charity auction and, of course, dancing and a party to Ellie’s exacting standards of fun. The Foundation are seeking local businesses able to support with donations of raffle and auction prizes for this event.

The charities trustees are:

Ben and Vicky Thornton – father and stepmother

Denise Thornton- Ellie’s grandmother and local fundraiser for St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House

Steve Robinson – Ellie’s godfather and fire fighter with West Sussex Fire Service

Anne Colvin – Shoreham-by Sea based dance artist and practitioner

Tamsyn Holmes – Ellie’s neighbour, arts and crafts specialist

Matt Bent – Project Engineer at Ricardo Technical Centre Shoreham

Emma Lind – Cultural researcher and politician, lives in Kristiansand, Norway

Ellie’s Star Gala has been kindly supported by Etta Wyatt and her team at Cissbury, and Ash Kent of

Tents N Events, Champion Catering, Co-ordination Catering Hire, One Beautiful Day, Twinkle Twist

Events and Andy Prior design. The trustees are in discussion with numerous other suppliers who are keen to support the charity.

If you would like more information on the foundation or visit the website at, you can also follow the foundation on Facebook.

If you would like to attend for the official launch, tickets are available £45 per ticket (plus booking fee) at

Contact Ben at the Ellie Thornton Foundation on