NEW HOPE FROM THE LIVES SNATCHED BY MENINGITIS; Families Raise [Pounds Sterling]60,000 for Research into a Killer

Daily Mail (London), February 7, 1997 | Go to article overview

NEW HOPE FROM THE LIVES SNATCHED BY MENINGITIS; Families Raise [Pounds Sterling]60,000 for Research into a Killer


FAMILIES and friends of three young meningitis victims have united to help fund new research into the killer bug.

The ground-breaking research is to be led by a team at Aberdeen University's microbiology unit.

It will be spearheaded by Professor Hugh Pennington who led the Government investigation into the E.coli food-poisoning outbreak.

Much of the [pounds sterling]60,000 finance for the research has been generated through appeals by the parents of 17-year-old Stephen Welsh and six-months-old Ashleigh Moir.

A contribution of [pounds sterling]4,100 has been made by St Margaret's School for Girls in Aberdeen, in memory of former head girl Faye Benzie who died two years ago.

Stephen, from Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, died last year while his parents, Jim and Irene, were on holiday in Tenerife.

Baby Ashleigh, from Aberdeen, died two years ago within hours of being admitted to Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.

Her grandmother Mrs Marjorie Moir, 40, spoke yesterday of her determination to ensure the baby's death was not in vain.

She said: `Ashleigh died very suddenly. She passed away within eight hours of being diagnosed with meningitis. We felt we had to do something to make sure her life was not for nothing.

`And we specifically wanted to have the research project based in Aberdeen.'

Mrs Moir and Ashleigh's 21-year-old mother Donna have raised nearly [pounds sterling]32,000 and will present the money to the Meningitis Research Foundation next week.

Mrs Moir added: `It has been a real effort, as we have been working full-time as well as having to deal with Ashleigh's death, which has been very traumatic.

`The money will fund the whole of the first year of the project, and the money raised by the Welsh family will take it on from there.

`It is wonderful that two families can get together like this and work for the same goal.

`There hardly seems to have been a week gone by since Ashleigh's death without another case of meningitis cropping up somewhere.'

Stephen's father Mr Jim Welsh said he has been heartened at the response to the appeal and has been overwhelmed at the kindess of the close-knit community at Inverurie.

The Stephen Welsh, which started in December, has raised [pounds sterling]15,000 and fund-raising events will continue until June. …

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