Children at Valley View Primary School in Leeds explain why they want to make a difference to the number of children dying from meningitis. 

We really wanted to help sick children and looked at supporting children with lots of different diseases. However, following the tragic death of the brother of a pupil in our nursery class from meningitis, we decided to focus on raising awareness of the symptoms of the disease and raising funds for the charity Meningitis Now.

We split up into four teams to focus on planning two separate fundraising events – a ‘Toddle Waddle’ for children in Nursery and a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ involving children from the rest of the school – an awareness-raising assembly for parents, and various other ways of raising awareness of the disease amongst the wider community.

“I’ve learnt that no child is too young to make a difference”


The children planning the Mad Hatters Tea party wrote letters to local businesses Greggs and Morrisons asking for donations of cakes from their bakery to sell at their event, as well as making their own cakes to sell, along with homemade fridge magnets and badges. All the children in the school were invited to attend and play games, and they donated 50p to wear a crazy hat! The group in charge of planning the Toddle Waddle wrote to Meningitis Now to get a fundraising pack and encouraged the children in Nursery to get sponsored to walk around the school field. The children also made flags and dressed up for their sponsored walk as the theme was ‘Under the Sea’. These two fundraising events raised over £436 for Meningitis Now.

In addition to raising money for Meningitis Now, we felt it was important that parents were given information about how to spot the symptoms of Meningitis to help prevent further deaths from the disease. We also wanted as many people as possible to sign an open letter sent to Jeremy Hunt asking for all children under 5 to be vaccinated against Meningitis B after he rejected a petition calling for this. We had a presentation for parents in assembly, sent cards showing how to spot Meningitis in toddlers and babies to every family, contacted the local newspaper, were interviewed on Radio Leeds and made an awareness-raising video that has been shared on social media as well as being played to pupils and teachers from other Leeds schools at the Celebration Event.

So far we have managed to get 59 signatures on the open letter to Jeremy Hunt and our video has been shared 41 times. You can see the video of us talking about our campaign here.

Don’t wait for a rash

Many people wrongly believe that a rash always appears with meningitis. This is not true and by the time the rash develops it can be too late. Symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.

Symptoms of Meningitis include:

  • Fever, cold hands and feet
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Drowsy, difficult to wake
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Convulsions/seizures
  • Pale, blotchy skin. Spots/rash
  • Vomiting
  • Dislike bright lights

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