Norwich mother’s heartfelt plea for vaccination following death of teenage son at Latitude Festival
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
A mother has today made a heartfelt plea for people to get vaccinated against a rare form of meningitis following the death of her son.
Ollie Towler-Jones had been with friends at Latitude Festival two years ago when he suddenly began to complain of a headache and sickness.
Just hours later and the 18-year-old was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where he died that evening.
Now, with the festival returning next month, his mum Jo Towler, 43, is urging more young people to get vaccinated.
She said: 'It has been two years but the memory is still there and it is still raw. He was our only child.
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'When the doctor told me that the cause of death was meningitis I was gobsmacked.
'It was the last thing I expected because he was a teenager and it is normally associated with babies.
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'It breaks my heart every day thinking about it.'
Friends of the former City of Norwich School pupil are also aiming to raise money in his memory.
Joe Murray, Hamish Kidd and Jacob Revell are taking part in a 3,500km rickshaw endurance race in India later this year for Meningitis Now.
Ollie died on July 19 from meningococcal group W (MenW) meningitis.
Miss Towler, who lives off Earlham Road, Norwich, said it was hugely important for young people to get vaccinated against the disease.
The hairdresser added: 'No one is indestructible and in the blink of an eye it can all change. The message is just for people to get the vaccination done. I would not want anyone to go through what we went through.'
On the morning of his death at the music festival held in Henham Park, near Southwold, Ollie's friends initially thought he had been suffering from a hangover.
But when his condition continued to decline, they sought medical help and he was flown to hospital by air ambulance. Hamish Kidd, 20, who was at the festival with Ollie, said: 'He was so easy going and very easy to get on with. I never saw him get angry with anyone, he was such a nice guy. I just could not believe it [when he died]. I was so shocked that I remember sitting there in my camp chair and I could not speak to anyone.'
Are you fundraising in memory of a friend? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.