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Father warns about dangers of Meningitis

Meningitis can hit people regardless of age or location and it's a disease that can kill extremely quickly.

One man who knows just how devastating it can be is Michael Pattie from Dumfries. He lost his 13 year old son David in 1999. Since then he's been campaigning with Meningitis Research UK to raise the profile of the disease.

Our reporter Fiona McIlwraith went along to meet him.

'Team Jenna' cyclists complete Lands End to John O'Groats challenge

The cyclists from Dumfries arrived at John O'Groats on Saturday afternoon Credit: Gary McCormick

A group of cyclists raising money for a fund set up in honour of a Dumfries teenager who died from meningitis have completed their charity challenge. The men arrived at John O'Groats on Saturday afternoon.

They rode 1000 miles as part of the Jenna Dempster Superstar Cycle challenge. Jenna, who was 17, died from meningitis 10 years ago.

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Full Report: Meningitis charity cycle for Jenna

A group of cyclists have been given a heroes' welcome as they arrived in Dumfries and Galloway.

They are half-way through a 1,000 mile challenge, in memory of a Dumfries teenager who died suddenly from meningitis.

They are riding from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for the Jenna Dempster Superstar Fund.

This afternoon, friends and family met them in Moffat - and Hannah McNulty was there too.

Watch her full report below.

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Jenna Dempster Superstar Cycle Challenge

The seven men beginning their journey from Land's End Credit: ITV News Border

Seven men from Dumfries are taking part in a mammoth charity cycle in memory of Jenna Demspter, who died from meningitis ten years ago.

The group are cycling more than 1,000 miles during the Land's End to John O'Groats challenge.

Jenna Dempster Credit: ITV News Border

The men are currently in Cumbria and are hoping to arrive in Moffat at around 4pm this afternoon, where they will be greeted by friends and family.

Tackling the steep countryside hills Credit: ITV News Border

Jenna Dempster was 17-years-old when she became ill and was taken to hospital. She was diagnosed with meningitis and died six hours later.

Jenna's brother Daniel is joining the team for the last leg of the route, and will cross the finish with them in John O'Groats.

Alison, Daniel and Jenna's mum, says she struggles to sum up what it means:

"Sometimes I struggle to find the words to describe how I feel. What the boys are doing is absolutely amazing and I'm so proud. Myself, my husband John and Daniel can't wait to welcome them into Scotland."

Smiling for the cameras Credit: ITV News Border

The group have been spent the last six months training, often cycling 60 miles a day, and have been on special nutritional diets in preparation for the cycle.

Gary McCormick, who organised the "Jenna Dempster Superstar Cycle Challenge", said the support they have had from friends and family has been unbelievable:

"We have had help with the bikes, transport, physiotherapists, everything. The support we have had from friends and family has been unreal.

"We want to raise as much money and awareness for meningitis research as possible."

They have so far raised around £5,000 for Meningitis Research.

"Prevention has to be the best option"

"The Department of Health's own studies show meningitis is the disease most feared by parents. It's one of the few illnesses in modern Britain that can kill or seriously maim a healthy child within hours of the first symptoms.

"With the UK Government committed to reducing child deaths, it's inconceivable that a MenB vaccine should be licensed yet go unused in the UK.

"Prevention has to be the best option, that's why we have invested over £17m in vital research. But now the UK has the chance to save over a thousand people every year from the devastation of MenB.

"Surely we should be seizing it and taking that all-important step towards a world free from meningitis and septicaemia."

– Chris Head, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation

Meningitis charity calls for vaccine approval

A health worker prepares a meningitis vaccination Credit: PA

A meningitis charity is warning that thousands of families could suffer if a life-saving vaccine is not implemented by the Government.

It comes as the Meningitis Research Foundation launches its annual awareness week across the country.

Campaigners from south-west Scotland and Cumbria have joined in the fight to try and have a meningitis B vaccine approved for use in the UK.

Michael Pattie, from Dumfries, lost his 13-year-old son David to meningitis in 1999 Credit: ITV News Border
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