Family out to raise money in loving memory of Rhianna

IPSWICH: The family of a little girl who died from meningitis has set up a series of fundraising events to help keep her memory alive.

Rhianna Warner was just two when she died from meningococcal septicaemia at Ipswich Hospital on New Year’s Eve last year.

But her family is now running a number of activities to raise money for the Meningitis Trust, which has supported them through this difficult time, and they are hoping to make these fundraising efforts into an annual event.

Rhianna’s grandfather, Dean Watchman, 41, of Landseer Road, said: “We are just hoping it helps other people, so no one has to go through what we are going through.

“The Meningitis Trust has been good to us – they ring us up and they are there to answer questions and give us information.

“They helped us set up a trust fund in Rhianna’s name and they sent us a rosebush which we will be planting in the garden for her.

“We just want to keep raising money for her and keep it all in people’s memories.”

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Several friends and family members have come forward to help organise the various events, including a disco and raffle at Westgate Ward Social Club, Victoria Street, on August 28.

Mr Watchman’s brother, Craig, 27, is also taking on a tandem skydive at Beccles airfield on August 24 while he visits the family from his home in Perth, Australia.

Mr Watchman added: “The community has been brilliant since she died. They have rallied round us and are all keen to help, and we have got plenty of sponsorship for the skydive.

“We would be very grateful for whatever people can give, and we would like to thank everyone who has donated because it all helps.

“We never even thought about meningitis until it happened, so we just want to make people aware of how quickly it can progress.

“It shocked a lot of people round here because Rhianna was a very popular girl and everyone knew her.

“We have got to remind people of how cruel and how quick this disease can be, and hopefully no-one will have to go through what we have gone through.”

The family has already raised more than �1,000 for the charity. Anyone wishing to donate or offer prizes for the raffle can contact Mr Watchman on 01473 415743.