Speaking out about meningitis

24th March 2016

As well as being an OBE and a bestselling author, Joanna Trollope is also a passionate supporter of our work and one of our celebrity ambassadors

Joanna Trollope

Her decision to support us is very personal and came after her daughter Antonia contracted viral meningitis at the age of 7 – over 35 years ago now.

In a rare interview in the April issue of glossy magazine Cotswold Life, out now, and ahead of appearing in conversation with fellow authors Katie Fforde and Fiona Fullerton, and our president Andrew Harvey, at a literary fundraiser – see below for details and to bag your ticket - Joanna relives that experience.

“My daughter Antonia, who’s now 44, contracted viral meningitis when she was seven,” Joanna tells Cotswold Life journalist Katie Jarvis. “It was in the early days when nobody really knew what they were doing.”

Antonia was whisked to Winchester Hospital.

“Those were the days” Joanna continues “when I had to fight to stay with her. In the end, the hospital very grudgingly – because I made myself so difficult – allowed me to sleep on a mattress on the floor beside her.” 

“None of the children in the ward – except for visiting hours – had an adult with them. So I remember, when Antonia was asleep, I used to go round and play with or read to the other children. A lot of them were bewildered and unhappy and frightened, as well as ill.”

Worse still Joanna remembers was the helplessness. “As a mother you want to be able to put everything right; yet there are times when you simply can’t. As well as that – and I think this is a very common maternal feeling if your child has contracted something hideous - you feel you have somehow let that child down. That applies to mothers down the ages and into the future for ever. It’s part of the deal.”

“Antonia is phenomenally clever and extremely successful and has three children of her own. But she does still get terrible headaches, infrequently, and I think that’s the legacy.”

Read the full article in the April 2016 issue of Cotswold Life.

An evening of conversation

Join us for an Evening in Conversation with authors Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde and Fiona Fullerton.

We are organising this very special literary event as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations on 10 May 2016. 

Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde and Fiona Fullerton will be joining us to share their insights into writing. The evening, hosted by our President, Andrew Harvey, consists of an intimate dinner and conversation in the beautiful surroundings of Calcot Manor, Near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

Tickets cost just £95, which includes a drinks reception and a gourmet three-course dinner served with wines.

We hope that you will be able to join us for what promises to be an enjoyable evening helping us continue our lifesaving work across the UK.

To buy tickets to this special evening, please email events@meningitisnow.org or call 0345 120 4530
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