A grandmother, who lost her beloved grandchild to a deadly brain bug, has welcomed the news that a new vaccine to protect against it has been granted a licence.

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Penny Watchman’s granddaughter Rhianna Warner died on New Year’s Eve in 2009 from meningococcal septicaemia at Ipswich Hospital.

Yesterday it was announced that a new vaccine to protect against meningococcal group B disease is one step closer to being made available in this country due to a licence being granted by the European Commission.

Mrs Watchman, of Landseer Road, said: “I think it is really good news. If that stops other families going through what we did, it will be worth it.”

So far Mrs Watchman’s family and friends have raised more than £14,500 for the Meningitis Trust.

She added: “The main thing is to keep awareness going. The money we have raised will help funds things like symptom cards, and help anyone who has been affected by meningitis.”

At present, there are around 1,110 people living in Ipswich who could be struggling to cope with the after-effects of meningitis – and every year another 20 people in the area could find themselves fighting the disease.

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