Campaigner stepping out in East Antrim on walk to fight meningitis

Charity campaigner Steve Dayman who will pass through East Antrim en route to raise funds for Meningitis Now.
Charity campaigner Steve Dayman who will pass through East Antrim en route to raise funds for Meningitis Now.

A charity campaigner who has walked over 12,000 miles and raised over £2 million to fight meningitis will pass through Carnlough and Whitehead on his 34th and final long-distance trek.

Steve Dayman (68), founder of the UK meningitis movement, is walking 201 miles over nine days around the Northern Ireland coast from Londonderry to Rostrevor to raise funds for Meningitis Now, the charity he started.

Meningitis Now has reportedly been instrumental in the introduction of five vaccines to fight the devastating disease – still the most feared by parents – despite being told when he first started campaigning that he wouldn’t see any in his lifetime.

Steve hopes to raise £25,000 during the latest walk.

On his way to the final destination of Rostrevor he will walk from Carnlough to Whitehead on Wednesday, May 31, and from Whitehead bound for Newtownards on Thursday, June 1.

Steve said: “I’ve been involved with the meningitis movement for over 34 years, since losing my 14-month-old son Spencer in 1982 to meningococcal meningitis.

“There were no organisations to represent the disease then, so I’ve dedicated my life to help create a better understanding of the disease.”

Steve became the founding chairman of the Meningitis Trust, now Meningitis Now, in 1986.

“Families and communities who have experienced meningitis have been the driving force behind our activities,” he said, “ . . . we have funded over £12 million of preventative research, distributed over 20 million awareness symptoms cards, taken over one million helpline calls and supported thousands of families who lives have been devastated by meningitis.

“Spencer’s passing pioneered the greater understanding of meningitis which we have today.”

Charity supporters and families who have been affected by meningitis from across Northern Ireland will be sponsored to join Steve for various stages of his walk and donations will also be collected from the public throughout.

Those wishing to can also donate via the Meningitis Now website at www.MeningitisNow.org/steveswalk