A HAWICK man has become an Ambassador for Meningitis Research - and is encouraging parents to recognise the symptoms.

Rory Bannerman has shared his first-hand experiences of Meningitis, after his daughter became ill at the age of seven while on holiday.

Now, his daughter Eilidh has since made a full recovery and is now a teacher.

Following the experience, Rory became an ambassador to help warn people of the symptoms of meningitis, know to be vigilant, and act fast. 

He will share his advice with the community in Hawick during National Meningitis Awareness Week, taking place between Monday, September 19 to Sunday, September 26.

Rory said: “My daughter Eilidh was seven at the time and had been enjoying splashing in the hotel pool and playing crazy golf with her brothers and sister while on a family holiday in Perthshire. Our lovely family holiday turned to a nightmare when Eilidh developed meningococcal septicaemia. 

“Within a few hours our lively, happy, healthy girl was on life support and fighting for her life in intensive care. I will never forget the fear, despondency and utter despair I felt as I sat helpless at her bedside. Every parent should be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia, and understand what to do if they think their child may be ill.” 

Meningitis Awareness Week is run by Meningitis Research Foundation (known as MRF). Estimates by the charity show on average, there have been 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK. Killing one in ten, these are deadly diseases that can strike without warning. 

The impact of this has left a quarter of survivors with life changing after-effects, these can range from brain damage, deafness, to loss of limbs. Those most at risk include babies, toddlers and young adults.

Mary Millar, MRF Scotland Manager, said: “We are so grateful to Rory and Eilidh for raising awareness during Meningitis Awareness Week. MRF funds vital scientific research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia but there's still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines so its vital that people are aware of the symptoms. We encourage everyone to be vigilant and to get medical help if you spot the symptoms.”

For more information about advice, symptoms, and questions about Meningitis and Septicaemia, visit: www.meningitis.org or call the free helpline on 080 8800 3344.