The founder of a national charity praised the fundraising and awareness work of the country’s longest running meningitis support group.

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The Norfolk and Norwich Meningitis Community Help Group has raised thousands of pounds for research since its inception on February 24 1994.

Volunteers have also helped raise awareness of the condition by distributing meningitis signs and symptoms cards to all schools and nurseries across Norfolk.

Steve Dayman, executive founder of Meningitis Now, praised the efforts of the community group, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in Norwich today.

The help group, which is formed of people who have suffered from meningitis or people whose family has been affected by the disease, marked the anniversary by cutting a birthday cake.

The volunteers meet on the second Monday of every month at the Charing Cross Centre, in St John Maddermarket, Norwich, between 2pm and 4pm.

The group has also been involved in a campaign calling on the government to approve a meningitis B vaccine, which has been 25 years in development, but is still awaiting the green light after clinical trials.

Mr Dayman told the group: “Pharmaceutical companies have done great work, but the real important thing is what you are doing in raising awareness and campaigning to keep meningitis at the top of the agenda. You have been doing it for 20 year, which is fantastic.”

Waltraud Jarrold, founder member and chairman of the community group, who had meningitis in 1988, added: “I’ve felt it is vitally important that people realise meningitis does not have any respect for age. Our most important activities are contacts with schools, particularly nursery schools, the University of East Anglia, where we have a desk to give out information each year for freshers’ fay, and City College Norwich, with a similar desk.”

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