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Ashley's story

29th March 1995

Ashley was a typical fun-loving mischievous boy who filled the hearts of so many people

Ashley's story

"On 29 March 1995 he was sent home from school early with a headache and feeling sick.

Ashley suffered from childhood migraines so this wasn't uncommon for him and his cousins had recently suffered from flu, so I thought he could possibly be going down with it too.

He lay on the sofa until early evening - he had been sick but said that he was feeling much better. He asked for a hot cross bun which he ate and then went to bed. He was sick later that evening. I felt it was my fault as I let him eat the hot cross bun.

I checked on him when I went to bed and he seemed settled. I woke in the night and went in to him - he said his head was feeling better but his legs ached. I remember saying: "It must be that flu bug Ash". I gave him a paracetamol, he settled and I went back to bed.

The next time I woke at about 5am, I heard him making strange noises. I rushed in, he was obviously having trouble breathing and I couldn't wake him - he was unconscious. I struggled with him to the phone and called the doctor and an ambulance.

I was screaming for help. Craig, my other son, went to get a neighbour who gave him mouth-to-mouth until the doctor and ambulance arrived. I can never describe that feeling."

Believed they would save him

"The doctor arrived within minutes and told me to get ready to go to Bath's Royal United Hospital. He thought Ashley had a blockage. The ambulance crew stabilised him on a ventilator and took him to hospital.

My dad drove me - by the time we arrived Ashley had developed a bruising rash. By this time it was clear to the doctors what was wrong, but I still believed that they would save him.

After several hours of treatment and tests the doctors told me that Ashley was so overcome by meningococcal septicaemia that there was nothing else they could do. I never got to say goodbye and I struggle to live with the fact that I never knew he was so poorly.

My family and I now devote as much time and energy into fundraising in memory of Ashley - the little boy who we all love and miss so much.

On his birthday every year we hold tribute evenings, which are a huge success. We have lots of fun including guest artists, so far we have had the Fab Beatles, Robbie Williams Tribute, Mick Hucknall Tribute and Rock n' Roll evenings. We also have an annual football match."