Chris P's story

23rd February 2015

Popular teenager Chris died within 24 hours of showing any sign of being ill. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the close-knit community of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire 


Chris Pegler

His parents Karen and Steve feel a vaccine would have been the only way to save their son's precious life such was the speed at which the disease took hold, with no symptoms to distinguish it from the flu or a virus. Karen remembers how she spoke to Chris at 7am on Wednesday, November 17, arranging for his dad to drop him at work. 

Everything was fine but just an hour later he began to develop a fever and started to be sick. Karen said: "Chris thought he had a sore throat coming. He developed a temperature in the afternoon so I called the doctor who said to try diluting paracetamol down.

"Chris’s temperature went down and he actually said in the evening that he felt a little better, he had some ice cream and I was getting fluids into him.

"He wasn't ill very often but when he was it tended to be like this, so at this stage we didn't think anything was seriously wrong. The doctor just thought it was a virus.

"We went to bed at about 10pm or 11pm and I told Chris to shout out to me if he felt ill in the night. I heard him get up a few times and at 2am he said he thought he had measles.

We suspected meningitis straight away

"We got up and turned the light on to find he had a rash on his face, chest and arms. The marks were similar to small cigarette burns. We suspected meningitis straight away and called for an ambulance."

Chris's temperature then went down and he started shivering. His dad Steve was stroking him gently but even this was causing Chris pain. Karen went in the ambulance with him to hospital. The rash developed en route and Chris was in a critical condition as his body battled the infection. His organs began to fail and his heart stopped.

Chris was sadly pronounced dead at 5.15am after several attempts to revive him.

The tragic death of the "cheeky and smiley" teenager prompted a mass moped ride through the town just the following day with 500 people gathering to pay their respects. Some 700 people attended Chris's funeral and a fundraising drive is now underway to support Meningitis Now.

Karen added: "Every Friday night since Chris has died we've gone up to his grave and had a drink with him. We're going to do it every Friday.

"People say that they don't know how we cope. Having the fundraising to focus on has really helped. We really hope that our efforts will help find a vaccine and save other people's lives."

An amazing £14,000 has already been raised in memory of Chris through his Forever Fund, including £6,000 through a sponsored walk which 60 of his friends and family attended.