Two parents on a mission to raise awareness about meningitis, are taking their national road trip through Aylesbury, after losing their one-year-old son to the deadly infection.
Reggie de Silver died in a matter of hours when he developed pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia after suffering a bout of influenza in March 2018.
One year on, his parents have teamed up with UK charity Meningitis Now to organise a national ‘wacky races’ style road trip – the Beep Beep Tour - which hits Aylesbury on Easter Sunday, 21st April.
An entourage of 14 drivers in vehicles salvaged from the scrap heap will be parading through the town with a team of charity ambassadors.
Setting off from the Five Bells Vintage Inn at 11am on Easter Sunday, they will be led by a procession of mods from Watford On the Run Scooter Club to Betty's Bargain Boot Sale.
Here they will complete their challenge for the day; buying and selling antiques to raise cash for Meningitis Now.
The Beep Beep Tour, named after Reggie’s favourite toy car, was set up by parents Chantal and Adam to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Chantal Kingswood, Reggie’s mother, said: “Reggie’s toy car was his favourite –his eyes lit up whenever he saw it. Our whole world has been taken from under our feet, but we have decided to focus our energy on raising money and awareness in Reggie’s memory, in the hope that other parents don’t have to suffer in the way we have.
“I don’t think I have dealt with losing him, some days are better than others while other days I can't even look at a photo of Reggie as it reminds me that he really has gone. Accepting has been the hardest thing, it has now been over a year and I still don't accept he is not here. I think I will feel like this for the rest of my life, with the constant void.
“It may seem like a small thing, but we really that lots of people support us as we go round the country on the Beep Beep Tour. It will really help us to raise awareness and help people become familiar with the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia."
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, and is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. In the UK, an estimated 22 people a day will contract the disease. Of those who contract the bacterial type, one in 10 will die.
Funds raised through the tour will be donated to Meningitis Now as it strives towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they require.
Steve Dayman, executive founder of Meningitis Now, said: “Reggie’s sad story shows how quickly meningitis can strike and the devastation it causes.
We are 100% behind the Beep Beep Tour and thank them for their efforts to fight back against this deadly disease.
“As a charity that receives no government funding we rely entirely on the generosity, energy and initiative of our supporters to raise the vital funds we need to carry out our lifesaving and life-changing work.
“Their efforts will make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”
The Beep Beep Tour departs from Brighton on Saturday 20th April and will be travelling across the country to the Isle of Man, stopping at various locations and completing challenges as they go, on a quest to reach the Isle of Man by Meningitis Awareness Day, Wednesday 24th April.
To support The Beep Beep Tour and raise money for Meningitis Now, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/beepbeeptour.