Meet our new Community Ambassador

2nd June 2015

Meet our latest Community Ambassador - Ian Watkinson

Ian Watkinson

Ian, aged 65, from Huddersfield, first came into contact with us following the death of his baby grandson Charlie, at just 15-weeks-old in 2010, through staff at Alder Hey Hospital.

“My family and I were immediately embraced by Chris Hughes, the charity’s regional officer, and the team - they were wonderful,” Ian said.

“When Charlie was taken ill, no-one recognised the symptoms. By the time he was seen by the local hospital, the damage was done. He was taken to the specialist unit at Alder Hey, but it was too late. He died in his parents’ arms a few days later."

“No family should have to go through this. We immediately decided that we would work with Meningitis Now to raise money and, particularly, to raise awareness of the symptoms of this dreadful disease."

“My daughter Katy wrote a blog recounting the journey from Charlie's first signs of distress to the end of his short life; it attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. Her husband Chris initiated a Twitter campaign asking celebrities to re-tweet a simple message about awareness; many did so and millions of their followers got the message.”

The family has organised lots of fundraisers, including cricket matches, concerts, ladies’ evenings, auctions and a Toddle Waddle.

“More than anything, we have spoken about the symptoms to anyone who will listen,” Ian added.

“We have given out thousands of symptoms cards through schools, nurseries and health centres as well as in pubs and at a music festival.”

Katy has been interviewed by national and local media, as well as featuring in an awareness video.

“We are all huge supporters of Meningitis Now and the wonderful work it does. We shall continue to do everything we can to help."

“I am immensely proud to have been appointed as a Community Ambassador. It is recognition of all my family’s hard work and gives me the opportunity to take that work further, to share our experience with others and to give something back to this wonderful organisation.” 

The role recognises the part played by committed supporters in our work. Ian becomes just one of 36 people around the UK to be invited to become a Community Ambassador.

Find out more about our Community Ambassadors