Triathlon challenge to fight back against meningitis

28th September 2015

A Tunbridge Wells man is taking on his first triathlon this weekend to raise awareness of meningitis and funds to help fight it after his daughter fought back from the disease

Clive and Charlotte Stuart
Company director Clive Stuart, 59, will be among hundreds at the event at Hever Castle, the UK’s second biggest triathlon. 

We’ve supported the family since Clive’s daughter Charlotte, 20, was struck down with the W strain of meningitis in August last year.

The Cambridge University student has been left with a number of after-effects, including the amputation of her toes, anxiety and extreme fatigue. 

“To mark Charlotte’s amazing recovery so far, I am doing my first proper open water sprint triathlon to raise money."

“This is also to raise awareness of this dreadful illness and to coincide with the launch of the new vaccine for meningitis ACWY, which is a must do for young people … get vaccinated!” 

Clive Stuart

Clive will be undertaking an open water swim of 400m in the castle’s 38 acre lake, an undulating cycle ride of 20km followed by an off-road run of 4km.

“I can make a reasonable attempt at swimming, cycling and running, but not normally together! At my age this event will be a real challenge at every level, although nothing like the challenge Charlotte’s had over the last year fighting back from meningitis.”

Clive Stuart

You can support Clive’s efforts at

Charlotte first began to feel ill the evening before she was admitted to hospital but nothing that would indicate the serious nature of her illness.

In A&E when a rash appeared

“It wasn’t until I was actually in A&E that the rash associated with meningitis appeared; before then I had none of the obvious symptoms. The doctors and nurses reacted so quickly, rushing me to ICU and placing me into an induced coma."

“Waking up two weeks later and coming to terms with the situation took a long time and was devastating."

"Having completed my first year at university it was very tough to accept that I would not be living with my friends or continuing to study my degree and that my independence was non-existent. I found myself unable to eat, drink and to begin with I was too weak to move at all."

“Meningitis acts incredibly fast. The day before I was in hospital I had been at work feeling perfectly healthy. Thankfully they caught it early on, reducing the severity of my long-term after-effects."

“To all prospective and current students I implore you to get this vaccine and to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis. Meningitis took my independence and my energy, put the life I had planned on hold and so nearly took my life altogether.” 

Charlotte Stuart

Read more of Charlotte’s story