The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting two parents on a mission to raise awareness of meningitis, after losing their one-year-old son to the deadly infection last year.
Reggie de Silver died in a matter of hours when he developed pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia after suffering a bout of influenza in March 2018. One year on, his parents have teamed up with UK charity Meningitis Now - the only charity dedicated to fighting the infection in the UK - to organise a fundraising and awareness road trip that will culminate with a series of team car challenges in the Isle of Man.
The Beep Beep Tour’ will see an entourage of drivers, six old bangers and a team of charity ambassadors travelling from Brighton to the Isle of Man, stopping at various locations and completing challenges as they go. The tour will start in Brighton on Saturday 20th April, travel to Aylesbury and Liverpool, and finish in the Isle of Man on Wednesday 24th April to coincide with Meningitis Awareness Day.
Along the way, drivers will be put through their paces by completing scavenger hunts and challenges set by pro-racing drivers. James Bond stunt driver and Manxman Mark Higgins will be joining the tour on the island to test each team’s pace around Jurby Motordrome and showcase his own driving skills.
The Beep Beep Tour, named after Reggie’s favourite toy car, was set up by parents Chantal and Adam to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Chantal Kingswood, Reggie’s mother, said: ‘Reggie’s toy car was his favourite – his eyes lit up whenever he saw it.
‘Our whole world has been taken from under our feet, but we have decided to focus our energy on raising money and awareness in Reggie’s memory, in the hope that other parents don’t have to suffer in the way we have.
‘We hope lots of people will do a ‘Beep Beep’ for us in support of our cause, with drivers honking their horns when they pass the tour on the road, or people making videos of themselves honking a horn and posting them online. That may seem like a small thing, but it will really help us to raise awareness during the tour.
‘We loved visiting the Isle of Man as a family and it is somewhere that Reggie held lots of special memories, so we wanted to incorporate that into the tour. We’re so grateful to the Steam Packet Company for making that a reality.’
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting the The Beep Beep Tour by providing free of charge travel to the island for the six cars and their passengers.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Chantal and Adam’s story is heartbreaking and goes to show the devastation meningitis can cause and how quickly it can spread. Putting their energy into this tour to help others from going through the same heartbreak is inspiring and we are pleased to get behind it.’
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, and is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. In the UK, an estimated 22 people a day will contract the disease. Of those who contract the bacterial type, one in 10 will die.
Funds raised through the tour will be donated to Meningitis Now as it strives towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected by the disease gets the support they require.
To support The Beep Beep Tour and raise money for Meningitis Now, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/beepbeeptour