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Urgent plea after little boy died from meningitis and sepsis

Urgent plea after little boy died from meningitis and sepsis

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:13pm 13th February 2019. (Updated at 6:31am 14th February 2019)

A desperate plea is going out from a Plymouth grandmother - after the death of her four-year-old grandson.

Little Alfie contracted both meningitis and sepsis in September last year.

His family has asked us to share his story and the photos to help raise awareness of the diseases.

The youngster became poorly after his first day of school.

His Nana, Sarah Miles, says he wasn't feeling very well when he came home and was shivering and shaking.

He went to bed and became very unwell - in the morning he had the meningitis rash and wasn't very responsive.

Alfie was taken by ambulance to Derriford Hospital - where he had two cardiac arrests.

alfie meningitis
Alfie from Plymouth was only four when he died from meningitis and sepsis

He was then transferred to Bristol Children's Hospital and over the next 10 days the sepsis developed - and it was feared he could lose his limbs.

The four-year-old started to deteriorate and was being kept alive via a life support machine.

Sarah says the doctors tried very hard to bring him out of the coma but sadly he couldn't be saved.

Less than two weeks later his parents made the decision to turn his machines off - and they played his favourite Disney songs in the background has he passed away in his Nana's arms.

Wednesday 13th February 2019 would have been Alfie's 5th birthday.

Now Sarah Miles is urging other parents and grandparents to know the signs - so no family has to go through what hers did.

alfie meningitis
Alfie's family have asked us to share this photo to help raise awareness - and encourage other families to learn the signs

"Alfie was the most beautiful star in the sky.

"They tried very hard to bring Alfie out of the coma, but unfortunately the sepsis had got right back into Alfie's throat, inside his mouth was black scarring from this horrible disease.

"I was fortunate to spend days and nights beside Alfie in hospital, but on this last occasion, Alfie ever so tentatively opened his eyes, and I said it's okay Nanny's here, and a single tear fell down Alfie's face.

"On the morning of the 23rd September he passed away in my arms."

Sarah Miles, Alfie's grandmother

Sarah has joined the charity Meningitis Now to help her through the difficult time and to raise awareness.

On Saturday 16th February a meningitis awareness night is being held in Four Lanes near Redruth, where the family are from.

It will take place at the Sportsman's Arms pub at 7.30pm and there will be a race night and raffle - to raise money for Meningitis Now.

What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?

Early symptoms of meningitis can include:


  • fever
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle pain
  • stomach cramps
  • fever with cold hands and feet


If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.

Symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.

Common signs & symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia

  • Child with a fever

    Fever, cold hands and feet

  • Child vomiting

    Refusing food and vomiting

  • Child looking fretful

    Fretful, dislike being handled

  • A sleepy child

    Drowsy, floppy, unresponsive

  • Child breathing rapidly

    Rapid breathing or grunting

  • A pale child

    Pale, blotchy skin. Spots/rash. 
    See the Glass Test

  • Crying child

    Unusual cry, moaning

  • Soft spot on child

    Tense, bulging fontanelle (soft spot)

  • Child disliking the light

    Stiff neck, dislike bright lights

  • Child having convulsions


Early symptoms can include:

Fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet.

Someone with meningitis or septicaemia can get a lot worse very quickly. Keep checking them.

Trust your instincts – Get medical help immediately.

Get more help and advice from Meningitis Now.

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