Talented teenage swimmer dies from meningitis just SEVEN hours after falling illGregor Smith, 13, died from killer brain disease hours after symptoms aroseFamily and friends have paid tribute to 'cheeky schoolboy'
16:43 GMT, 26 February 2013
17:55 GMT, 26 February 2013
A schoolboy has died from meningitis just seven hours after his symptoms first appeared.
Thirteen-year-old Gregor Smith, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, passed away on Sunday evening.
The ‘cheeky’ schoolboy, who was a member of his local swimming squad, died of the killer brain infection in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.
Keen swimmer Gregor Smith, 13, died suddenly from meningitis just hours after developing symptoms
Gregor's distraught sister, Rachel (right), took to Twitter to share the news of her brother's death
His older sister, Rachel, took to Twitter to share the news and express her distress.
Fins Swimming Club have expressed ‘great sadness’ at Gregor's death and passed on their sympathies to his family.
Senior coach Graham Irvine said he was struggling to take the tragedy in.
He said: ‘Gregor had been at the club as long as I can remember and we were looking to develop him into an athlete as he moved through adolescence.
Promising athlete: Gregor's peers within his swimming squad said he would be greatly missed
‘He will be missed greatly by his peers within the squad as they spend a considerable time with each other training and become more like family than friends.
‘His confidence and cheeky ways will be how I remember him most as we come together as a club to try and come to terms with the pain and unfairness of his passing.’
Derek Allan, Rector of Kirkcaldy High School where Gregor was a student, said today that both pupils and staff were shocked and saddened by his death.
He said: ‘Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends during this very difficult time.
‘Gregor was a popular pupil, well known and liked by staff and pupils. He will be a huge loss to us all.’
Mr Allan added: ‘We have also set aside some quiet space in the school for pupils and staff, who are being comforted by our own staff and a Fife Council support team.’
The school is liaising with Fife’s public health team and all pupils have been given leaflets highlighting the symptoms of meningitis.
However, it is thought to be very unlikely that any other pupils will contract the illness.
Gregor’s devastated parents, Jenny and George Smith, are now planning his funeral.
His friends at Kirkcaldy High School are organising a sponsored walk to raise money for research into meningitis.
MENINGITIS: HOW TO SPOT THE KILLER BRAIN DISEASE
Meningitis can kill in four hours. Classic symptoms include a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light.
Some suffers develop a rash that does not fade under pressure. To carry out the 'glass test' on a rash roll a clear glass over the affected area – if it does not fade seek immediate medical attention.
Each year around 3,400 people contract bacterial meningitis and septicaemia (the blood poisoning form of the disease). Septicaemia symptoms include cold hands and feet, and the rash.
1 in 10 people die and 1 in 4 are left with permanent disabilities such as loss of limbs, scarring, loss of hearing or brain damage.
Under-5s, those aged 14-24 and the elderly are most at risk.