Proudly Supporting Tom’s Climb for Meningitis Research

Tom Hughes is known to a number of our customers and partners.

For those who don’t know Tom, he’s our Director Mick Hughes’ son. Tom has worked for us on occasion, on site, helping us deliver on projects as a labourer. The Abbott team always welcome Tom’s help on site during his breaks from his education. He’s a mature, reliable, 21 year old, with a great work ethic and a brilliant personality (he’s much funnier than his Dad). He’s currently studying for a degree in English Literature, due to graduate in 2024.

Tom lost a close friend to meningitis 6 years ago. He and Alex met when they were 8 years old. They developed a close bond through mutual interests. They ran together, they were involved in stage productions together and they shared experiences that Tom will never forget, including being paired on tasks as part of their Year 6 residential trip.

Tragically, Alex’s life was cut short at the age of 15, but Tom holds Alex’s memory and love for life dear, as someone who had a passion for living, for taking chances, and grasping opportunities.

Bacterial meningitis (as opposed to viral meningitis) is mercifully rare, and incidences are declining thanks to research and a vaccination programme, but it still affects more than 200 in the UK each year, of all ages. Children and teenagers are the most at risk and unless detected early, it is often fatal.

Treatment is hindered by initial flu like symptoms, which are often dismissed as anything serious, but the infection has rapid progress. 90% of children and teenagers who die of meningococcal meningitis die within 24 hours of diagnosis.

Vaccines are available to prevent some types of meningitis and most of these are part of the UK routine immunisation schedule. However, not all types of meningitis can be prevented by these vaccines.

Funds to continue research into new vaccines and also, to allow better promotion of the early warning signs to the population, are key to eradicating this aggressive infection, that takes lives so quickly.

Reading University, where Tom is studying, have organised a trip to Tanzania this August, where a group of 15 students will climb Kilimanjaro in the name of Meningitis research. The trip is self-funded, so every penny raised will be donated to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Tom will be part of the group, Joint Team Leader in fact, climbing with his heart on his sleeve for his friend Alex.

Tom has told us how when he was presented with the challenge, it immediately made him think of Alex, that he knew he would have loved to do this. It is part of the reason he wants to do it. To reach the summit in his friend’s name.

Abbott are only too proud to sponsor Tom in his efforts, with a £500 donation, and are hoping our network will support him too, including joining us in fundraising activities over the coming months.

We will be holding our inaugural Bat and Trap tournament in July, with the intention of this becoming an annual charity fundraising event. We’re looking for sponsorships or raffle prize donations from our supply chain, and so will be in touch with you all shortly.

Please dig deep and support this important cause. The Meningitis Research Foundation are working to defeat meningitis by 2030. Join us in helping them make that happen.

If you wish to donate directly, you can do so through Tom’s Just Giving page here

Or, if you want to get involved in any way with our fundraising efforts, please contact