Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Walking in Sam's memory for Meningitis Now

Andy Hopkinson | 15th June 2021

One of the many casualties of the current pandemic has been the annual Sam Virgo Memorial Walk

Sam Virgo Memorial Walk for Meningitis Now

This annual celebration of young Sam’s life has been marked on the first Saturday in May each year with a 10 mile walk – with hundreds of family and friends from his community in and around Berkeley in Gloucestershire taking part.

Sam died from meningitis in March 2008 and since then a dedicated group of fundraisers has raised over £170,000 in memory of the young boy and to fight back against the disease that killed him.

Another year has passed

Claire Mansell, Sam’s cousin who manages the Memorial Walk, told us: “Another year has passed and unfortunately we still find ourselves in a position where we cannot remember Sam in our ‘normal’ way by walking the annual 10 miles as a community.

“But I wanted to make sure we could all still remember Sam in some way that was safe and stayed within the government guidelines. 

“So, we asked, for those who could, to join us in walking, biking or whatever they were doing that day to wear their orange Meningitis Now t-shirts. And so many did which was so wonderful to see!

Sam Virgo Memorial Walk for Meningitis Now

Scotland and Australia

“With the family still being separated, orange T-shirts were worn in Scotland and Australia to remember Sam. 

“It just goes to show that neither distance nor a pandemic will get in the way of celebrating and remembering someone so special. 

“And I’m sure we’ll be back together in person rather than just spirit next year to continue our fundraising so Sam’s name lives on and something positive continues to coms from this tragedy.”

Sam Virgo Memorial Walk for Meningitis Now

Rounders fun days

As well as the annual 10 mile walk from Thornbury to Berkeley the community has also staged a number of other events, including rounders fun days and a triathlon with a difference. Other fundraisers have included marathons, mud runs, skydives, abseils and even a saucy calendar.

Leah Wynn, our Community Fundraising Officer, said “It’s absolutely fantastic that a relatively small community has raised so much money in Sam’s memory – what a tribute to him. 

“It’s a great achievement and testament to everyone’s dedication. 

“We’re so grateful to them for their ongoing support. Without people like them, we couldn’t continue to fund our pioneering preventative research, raise awareness and support people.” 

If you’d like to donate in Sam’s memory please visit his Forever Fund page.