Brighton parents are on a mission to raise awareness about meningitis, are launching a national road trip, after losing their one-year-old son to the deadly infection.
Reggie de Silver died in a matter of hours when he developed pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia after suffering a bout of influenza in March 2018. One year on, his parents have teamed up with UK charity Meningitis Now -the only charity dedicated to fighting the infection in the UK -to organise a fundraising and awareness road trip that will culminate with a series of team car challenges in the Isle of Man.
The Beep Beep Tour will see an entourage of drivers, six old bangers and a team of charity ambassadors travelling from Brighton to the Isle of Man, stopping at various locations and completing challenges as they go. The tour will start from Madeira Drive in Brighton on Saturday 20th April, where they will be led out of town by a procession of Mods before travelling to Aylesbury and Liverpool, and finish in the Isle of Man on Wednesday 24th April to coincide with Meningitis Awareness Day.
The Beep Beep Tour, named after Reggie’s favourite toy car, was set up by parents Chantal and Adam to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Chantal Kingswood, Reggie’s mother, said: ‘Reggie’s toy car was his favourite –his eyes lit up whenever he saw it. ‘Our whole world has been taken from under our feet, but we have decided to focus our energy on raising money and awareness in Reggie’s memory, in the hope that other parents don’t have to suffer in the way we have.
We hope lots of people will do a ‘Beep Beep’ for us in support of our cause, with drivers honking their horns when they pass the tour on the road, or people making videos of themselves honking a horn and posting them online. That may seem like a small thing, but it will really help us to raise awareness during the tour.”
Claudine Bloom, Brighton resident and seasoned rally driver, will be taking part. She said “Reggie’s tragic death from meningitis was heart breaking not only because of his tender age but also learning that there are 22 new cases each day in the UK – a disease which can be managed if the signs and symptoms are recognised early enough to prevent these unnecessary deaths. So it was a no brainer to support Chantal and Adam in their quest to bring awareness of meningitis to the widest possible audience and we hope that together we can attract lots of support along the way during our Beep Beep Tour.”
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, and is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. In the UK, an estimated 22 people a day will contract the disease. Of those who contract the bacterial type, one in 10 will die. Funds raised through the tour will be donated to Meningitis Now as it strives towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they require.
Steve Dayman, executive founder of Meningitis Now, said: “Reggie’s sad story shows how quickly meningitis can strike and the devastation it causes. We are 100% behind the Beep Beep Tour and thank them for their efforts to fight back against this deadly disease.
“As a charity that receives no government funding we rely entirely on the generosity, energy and initiative of our supporters to raise the vital funds we need to carry out our lifesaving and life-changing work.
“Their efforts will make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”
To support The Beep Beep Tour and raise money for Meningitis Now, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/beepbeeptour.