When fundraising is a family affair

Pete Stott (left) of Luton and his son-in-law Leon Robichaud who are fundraising for Meningitis Now
Pete Stott (left) of Luton and his son-in-law Leon Robichaud who are fundraising for Meningitis Now

A Luton grandfather and his son-in-law are joining forces to fight meningitis.

Surveyor Pete Stott, 57, of London Road and Cambridge-based Leon Robichaud, 34, are taking part in the Bupa London 10 km marathon on May 25 to raise funds for Meningitis Now.

Pete’s big sister Anne died of the disease when he was just four and Leon was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis when when his firstborn was only five weeks old.

Pete said: “Anne was eight when she passed away and I know how hard it hit the family.

“I remember the day she died. Her coffin was at home on the dining room table and the curtains were drawn.

“I was too young to go to the funeral so a neighbour looked after me.”

Pete did his first Bupa 10 km marathon Manchester in 2012, the 50th anniversary of her death.

Three years ago his daughter Kim’s husband Leon was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital shortly after their daughter Mia was born.

Pete said: “I went to sit with him and the rate of his deterioration was astonishing. One moment he was talking to me and the next it was as if he’d fallen off a cliff.”

Leon, a Bedford headteacher, recalled: “It was supposed to be a happy time with Mia entering the world but my meningitis battle put a strain on the family.

“Kim was a new mother, I was in a coma and the future looked bleak.

“Luckily I pulled through. But it was touch and go for a while – they didn’t think I was going to wake up.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have survived so want to do all I can to raise money and awareness because meningitis is not widely acknowledged.

“Sadly this terrible disease has affected both Pete and I so the charity is very close to our hearts.”

The dyanmic duo did the race last year and will be joined by Pete’s son Tom and his girlfriend Nicki Newington, both 24, of Wokingham this year.

“It’s become a bit of a family affair,” Pete smiled.

Although he holds a black belt in karate and has walked the West Highland Way, this one-time Alpine climber claims his mind is more in tune with the event than his body.

“I just hope I can keep my time to around the one-hour marker,” he said. “It will be great to have three other people with me and we all know it’s for a brilliant cause.”

> To sponsor Pete and his family go to www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/peteandleon