Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Danielle and Dean join Team Tangerine

Andy Hopkinson | 18th December 2021

We’re thrilled to welcome TV presenter, radio host and former pop star Danielle Nicholls and her husband, ex professional footballer and now Stoke City assistant manager Dean Holden, as our latest Celebrity Ambassadors

New Meningitis Now Celebrity Ambassadors Danielle Nicholls and Dean Holden

Danielle and Dean are keen to join the fight back against meningitis after losing their beloved 17-month baby daughter Cici Milly Holden to the disease in May 2012.

The parents of four came along to our Christmas Concert at St Lawrence Jewry Church in London last week to meet our Chief Executive Tom Nutt and Executive Founder Steve Dayman and find out more about our work.

Valuable and inspiring work

Danielle told us: “I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to support Meningitis Now, which does such valuable and inspiring work fighting back against meningitis and the devastation it leaves behind it.”

She added: “I’m looking forward to helping to raise awareness and promote the charity’s work in funding research to find new vaccines and supporting individuals and families who have been affected by meningitis to rebuild their lives.”

The couple’s daughter Cici died within hours of falling ill during a trip to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. She was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save her. 

Showed no signs

Danielle told us Cici did not show any signs of illness when she was put to bed the night before she died. However, by 7.30am on the first morning of their holiday her parents knew something was seriously wrong. 

Cici was making a strange "whimpering" noise and was "not herself", Danielle said. She was taken to a medical centre before being transferred to intensive care in hospital, but the disease proved too much for her.   

Danielle added: “Cici was the perfect baby. It was just so shocking, it all happened so quickly. She was such a healthy baby, I had only ever taken her to the doctor once.

“Luckily, Dean and I are very strong and we talk about Cici all the time. No parents should ever go through what we have. Cici will always be in our hearts and we will always love her.” 

Our Chief Executive, Tom Nutt, added: “It’s a real honour to welcome Danielle and Dean to our team and we look forward to working with them in the coming months and years as we move ever closer to our vision of a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and all those affected get the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

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