Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Glamorous ball to fight back against meningitis

Andy Hopkinson | 7th October 2022

A big-hearted charity supporter is organising a glamorous charity ball to help fight back against the devastating disease which nearly took his life

Rajinder's fundraising ball for Meningitis Now

Rajinder Tumber, from Belvedere in Kent, who was awarded an MBE for his services to cyber security in the then Queen’s New Year’s Honours List last year, contracted meningitis when he was 27, 12 years ago. 

It began as a slight headache, which got progressively worse. The next day he was rushed to hospital, where he spent almost two weeks before being allowed home to continue his recovery. You can read Rajinder’s full story here.

Spencer’s Legacy

Now Rajinder has organised the Coveham Lodge Charity Gala Black Tie and Evening Dress ball, which will raise vital funds for our ongoing work through our Spencer’s Legacy: Nobody Left Behind campaign.

Our executive founder Steve Dayman and his wife Gloria will be among the guests on the evening and Steve will be talking about the campaign, which marks the 40th anniversary of his son Spencer’s death from meningitis and the start of the meningitis movement in the UK. 

Spencer’s Legacy aims to raise £320,000 to fund research into a new and improved pneumococcal vaccine, and to invest in developing future scientists by funding a four-year PhD studentship at the Spencer Dayman Research Laboratories at the University of Bristol. It launched in April this year and is already halfway to reaching its target.

Traumatic experience

Speaking of his meningitis experience Rajinder said:

“It was an extremely traumatic experience, so traumatic, that thinking about it affects me even today. 

“At that time of my life, I was in my peak of physical fitness. I was going to the gym, boxing on a regular basis, running for miles, and bench-pressing around 60kg dumbbells. My strength and fitness levels were through the roof. However, just 24 hours into contracting meningitis, I couldn't walk or talk properly – I didn't have the energy.  

Flow with it

“To me, this proved that no matter how fit or strong someone may be, whatever will happen is destined to happen. You cannot stop it, but you must flow with it. 

“After a brain scan, I can vaguely recall crying and thinking that this was the end of my life. I asked my parents to give me a pen and piece of paper, so I could write my will. From the complete lack of energy, it was a challenge to even hold a pen. It took me a long time to write just a few sentences.

“I also had a brief talk with God, while I was alone for a few minutes. I won't mention what I said, but let's just say, I wasn't happy I was going to die.

“I was in hospital for almost two weeks, which felt so long as I was not used to staying in one place, doing nothing.” 

Determined to fight back

Thankfully Rajinder has gone on to make a good recovery from the disease, but it has left him determined to do everything he can to fight back against it.

“Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis is really important,” he added. “I didn't know what meningitis was until the day after I almost died from it. If I was aware of it before I encountered the symptoms, I wouldn't have waited until the next morning to be treated.”

The Ball is sponsored and organised by the Coveham Lodge of Freemasons and is being held on Friday 4 November in the Elizabethan Suite at Glenmore House in Surbiton. As well as a three-course meal with wine it will include live music, a DJ, blackjack and roulette tables, a raffle and an auction. Guests will have the opportunity to win prizes on the night, including a helicopter flight, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Aston Martin driving sessions and a tour of Buckingham Palace and more.

Get your ticket

Limited tickets are available, priced at £50 each, from if anyone would like to join Rajinder, Steve and the other guests on the evening. The ticket price includes complimentary casino money.

Steve added: “We’re really grateful to Rajinder and everyone connected with Coveham Lodge for their support with this event and look forward to an enjoyable and rewarding evening – do join us if you can to help in the fight back against meningitis.”

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