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Dad of tragic cricketer speaks out in Meningitis Awareness Week after reaching £100,000 fundraising milestone

Ken Robinson has been appointed as an ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Ken's son Glenn died from the disease in 1997, he has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the charity since.
Ken Robinson has been appointed as an ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Ken's son Glenn died from the disease in 1997, he has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the charity since.

A charity champ has vowed to keep on fundraising after reaching the £100,000 milestone of donations towards vital research following his teenage son’s tragic death.

Ken Robinson and his family were left devastated when 16-year-old Glenn, a promising cricketer, was struck down with meningitis in 1997, dying just days after he became unwell.

Glenn Robinson.

Glenn Robinson.

Ever since then, Ken has devoted his life to raising money and awareness for the illness through the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

The latest event as part of the appeal set up in Glenn’s memory, a ladies charity cricket match, took place at Philadelphia Cricket and Community Club of which Ken is on the committee.

The fundraiser took the total raised past the £100,000 mark.

Speaking to the Echo as part of Meningitis Awareness Week, Ken, 73, vowed to carry on his work.

Ken Robinson.

Ken Robinson.

“I’ll never give up fundraising,” said Ken, of Newbottle.

“To get to the £100,000 mark is brilliant but I have to thank the community for the part they have played.

“It’s those people who have come along to these events and got involved that have got us where we are.

“We’ll never be able to thank them enough.

Ken Robinson, with cheque, alongside those who played in a charity cricket match at Philadelphia Cricket and Community Club in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Ken Robinson, with cheque, alongside those who played in a charity cricket match at Philadelphia Cricket and Community Club in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation.

“It’s not a time to celebrate because if Glenn hadn’t died, we would not have done any of this.

“But we’re very grateful to anybody who has donated.”

The decision to start fundraising was made by Ken and his late wife Brenda, who passed away eight years ago.

Ever since Glenn’s death, the family have held sporting talk-ins, charity football and cricket matches as well as other get events with all proceeds going to the MRF.

Ken, who is also dad to Steven and Andrew and a grandad-of-five, also gives up his time to talk to schoolchildren about the illness in his capacity as a MRF ambassador.

In recent years new vaccines have been introduced to protect youngsters, in particular babies, from the illness.

The charity even sent two representatives along to last weekend’s match to pass on an award to Ken and the community for their efforts.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years but Brenda did a hell of a lot of work before I lost her,” added Ken.

“As it happens the latest charity cricket game was on the anniversary of her death, but I know she would’ve wanted it to go ahead.”

Ken added that he will always continue his charity work until meningitis is completely eradicated to save others experiencing the pain he and his loved ones have felt ever since Glenn passed away.

“It’s an evil disease,” he said.

“What happened to Glenn, he became unwell after we’d been out to watch a football match.

“We called the doctor out, who had a look at him and said to take some solpadeine tablets.

“He went into a deep sleep that night and when he woke up, he was a different person.

“He actually bashed his head trying to walk to the toilet.”

After taking him to hospital, Glenn was admitted where he diagnosed with the meningococcal septicaemia strain of meningitis B.

Despite bravely fighting on for several days and at one stage being rated as having a 60% chance of survival, he relapsed and passed away.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what we did as a family,” said Ken. 
“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“You get through things but there are times when you’re maybe sitting at home or can’t get off to sleep and remember it.

“These days I can cope, but even though it happened years and years ago, the pain never goes away.

“That’s why I’ll always keep fighting.”

Advice about meningitis is available free by calling 08088003344.

MENINGITIS - SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR

This year’s Meningitis Awareness Week is aiming to improve diagnosis of patients with bacterial meningitis and septicaemia through the Meningitis Research Foundation’s Safety Netting campaign.

Among the symptoms of meningitis to look out for include:

*Fever/vomiting

*Severe headache

*Stiff neck

*Dislike of bright lights

*Feeling very sleepy or difficult to wake

*Feeling confused

*Rash

*Seizures

Symptoms of septicaemia include:

*Limb, joint or muscle pain

*Having cold hands/feet

*Pale of mottled skin

*Fast breathing