THE family of a “cheeky and smiley” teenager who died of meningitis hope folk will flock to a fundraising Fun Day in his memory.
Eighteen-year-old Chris Pegler, of Wotton-under-Edge, died within 24 hours of contracting the dreaded disease.
Such was his popularity, Chris’ untimely death prompted a mass moped ride through his hometown the following day, with more than 500 people gathering to pay their respects.
Some 700 people also attended his funeral.
The former Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School pupil developed a fever, sore throat and felt sick on Wednesday morning, November 17, 2010.
His mum Karen, 42, spoke to a doctor who thought it was a virus and suggested diluting paracetamol.
When they turned on his light to check on him in the night, they were stunned to see Chris had a rash on his face, chest and arms.
Karen immediately suspected meningitis and called an ambulance, but Chris was in a critical condition and his organs began to fail and his heart stopped.
Despite several attempts to revive him, the popular teenager was pronounced dead at 5.15am.
Since that fateful day, Karen, his dad Steve and 19-year-old sister Bex have devoted their time to fundraise for Meningitis Now to help save others from a similar ordeal.
Karen said: “Our lives will never be the same – we talk about Chris every day – it’s devastating.
“Fundraising helps with the grieving process – it keeps us focussed on the next thing we’re doing.
“I know we can’t bring Chris back, but we can raise money to help with vaccine research to save others.
“It’s essential meningitis is stopped – the sooner they eradicate every strain the better.”
The family host their fourth Fun Day for Stroud-based Meningitis Now on Saturday, May 31, at Synwell Playing Fields, Wotton.
Entertainment includes a beer and cider tent, barbecue, bouncy castle, ‘human fruit machine’, classic cars, New Generation Street Dance, face painting, cake stall, raffle and tombola from 1pm.
Karen said: “The day will have something for everyone and we want to raise as much as possible to help protect future generations.
“We hope as many people as possible come to remember Chris and raise money for such a worthy cause.”
Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, of Alveston, launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby Spencer to the disease in 1982.
He added: “What happened to Chris sadly illustrates how fast meningitis can strike, with few symptoms to distinguish it from more common illnesses.
“Every penny raised will go towards eradicating the awful disease, so no other families suffer heartache due to meningitis.”
If anyone would like to donate cakes or raffle prizes, call Karen on 01453 520270 or email email@example.com.