Appeal gets off to a flying start

A COUPLE whose nine-month-old son who died after contracting meningitis today toasted a fundraising event staged in his memory.Taylor Westley-Smith died only 15 hours after being struck down with the brain bug in March.

A COUPLE whose nine-month-old son who died after contracting meningitis today toasted a fundraising event staged in his memory.

Taylor Westley-Smith died only 15 hours after being struck down with the brain bug in March.

In a bid to spare other parents from the pain of losing a child to meningitis, Mark and Jennifer Smith, of Gostling Place, Kesgrave, launched a fundraising mission in his honour.

And their �10,000 target is already within their sights after more than 300 people filled a Suffolk pub for a charity Caribbean night.


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A steel band, a barbecue and a constant supply of rum punch kept visitors at the Cherry Tree in Bromeswell entertained throughout Saturday's event.

Dad Mark, 30, said: “We had expected 50 people but 300 turned up which was brilliant.

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“We are counting the money up at the moment but we should have raised a good amount.

“It was really good and my thanks goes to the landlady and bar staff at the Cherry Tree.”

The couple have already raised �3,200 through previous events and with several more planned, hope to raise thousands more.

The next fundraiser takes place on Friday with a sponsored walk from Felixstowe to the Cherry Tree.

All the money raised will go towards Meningitis UK's Search 4 A Vaccine campaign. It aims to raise �7 million to fund vital research into developing a vaccine against Meningitis B - the most common form of meningitis in the UK. This accounts for almost 90 per cent of all cases, including the strain which killed Taylor.

Mrs Smith, 29, said: “Hopefully our efforts will take Meningitis UK one step closer to finding a vaccine.

“It really is such a devastating disease and we don't want Taylor's death to be in vain.

“If meningitis can be eradicated then, one day, people won't have to go through the heartache we've endured.”

Have you been affected by meningitis? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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