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Baby’s short life inspires dad’s 215-mile cycle

PUBLISHED: 14:50 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:55 03 September 2014

Baby Billy

Baby Billy

Archant

A FATHER, who lost his baby boy to a rare form of meningitis just days after his birth, has cycled a gruelling 215-mile journey to get money for a charity which raises awareness of the disease.

Tom Pegg completed a 213mile cycle in memory of his son, Billy Tom Pegg completed a 213mile cycle in memory of his son, Billy

Tom Pegg, aged 37, and his fiancée, Ursula Bradshaw, aged 36, were over the moon to welcome their baby boy, Billy, into the world earlier this year, but within hours things took a turn for the worse.

Tom said: “A short while after the birth, just before preparing to return home to Blagdon, he was taken into the neonatal intensive care unit.”

Billy was later diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis called Group B Strep and died when three days old on March 13.

Despite the heartbreak, Tom said the couple are ‘not angry or bitter’ about what happened.

Tom Pegg and his fiance Ursula with baby Billy Tom Pegg and his fiance Ursula with baby Billy

He said: “We try to look at the positives in life, keeping in mind what we have rather that what we have just lost. We’re not bitter, and we’re not angry, we just want to raise awareness.”

Tom decided to cycle a gruelling 215-mile journey from his fiancée’s hometown of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk back to Blagdon to raise money and awareness for Group B Strep Support.

He said: “Almost 200 people have already donated which is great. It’s great to raise money for the charity but personally we are more about raising awareness.

“We certainly weren’t aware of the infection and we lost a life because of it. If we can prevent this from happening in the future it will be amazing.”

Tom began the three-day cycle on Friday afternoon, making the exhausting trip back to Blagdon by Sunday evening.

So far his efforts have raised £5,000 for the charity, with donations still flooding in.

Chief executive of Group B Strep Support Jane Plumb said: “GBS causes severe infections resulting in babies fighting for their lives in intensive care units.”

The charity is calling for Group B Strep tests to be made routine for all pregnant women in the UK.

Ms Plumb said: “Every death is a tragedy, and more so when the death was preventable.”

To make a donation, visit his just giving page.

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