Harry has been raising awareness of meningitis for us after watching his younger brother Liam, 7, battle with the disease and its after-effects for all of his young life.
Now we’ve invited him to join the ranks of our select group of Young Ambassadors and work alongside them, raising awareness and funds and supporting people in his local community.
It’s been quite a month for Harry. As well as becoming a Young Ambassador his tireless work has also been recognised by Bingley Grammar School in Yorkshire who, at the end of term, awarded him the John Patterson Award for his work within the local community.
Our picture here shows him with Beth Bottrill, our Fundraising Director, after receiving his school award.
‘We can beat this disease’
Harry said: “I know how devastating this disease is and see every day the effect it has on my brother Liam and the rest of my family. I want to make sure that no one in my community goes through meningitis alone.”
“It’s also vital that everyone learns the symptoms, which can save lives and help people avoid life-changing after-effects such as brain damage and epilepsy. It’s an honour to join the Young Ambassador team at Meningitis Now and I’ll do all I can to support their work, because with a united front we can beat this disease.”
Harry becomes just the 37th Young Ambassador for us around the country. As well as fundraising and raising awareness they also act as community mouthpieces.
Our lives changed forever
Harry’s parents, Colin, the Bradford City and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, and Becky Doyle, also support us through their own organisation, Liam’s Smiles. Becky has hosted several balls, run the London Marathon, trekked the Great Wall of China and led many fundraising activities, raising over £100,000 towards our work.
Becky said: “We’re really proud of Harry, who is tireless in his support for Liam and raising awareness of this awful disease. It’s great that his efforts have received this recognition. All our lives changed forever the night Liam first became ill. Since then Liam has spent so much time in and out of hospital.”
Support and guidance
“Meningitis Now has been providing support and guidance not just for Liam but for the whole of our family ever since Liam first became ill. They have given us so much strength and we’re so pleased that Harry is now able to give something back in this way.”
Meningitis Now executive founder Steve Dayman added: “We’re thrilled that Harry has become the young face of our charity in his area. Through his support, enthusiasm and hard work, we’ll achieve so much more than we would alone.”
Harry isn’t the only family member in the news though. A statue of Liam that featured in our award-winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year has recently made the journey to Siena, Tuscany in Italy, where it now has pride of place in the winter garden at Villa Gori, the site of global pharmaceutical company GSK, where the Meningococcal Group B vaccine, Bexsero, is manufactured.
As the company says: “For all of us who work in Siena and Rosia, the presence of this work on our site should be a reason of pride, because it is from here that the vaccines against meningitis leave heading all over the world.”