TRIBUTES have been paid to a brave 16-year-old Bournemouth schoolgirl who died of meningitis on Sunday.
Connie Moore’s family and friends have taken to social media sites to mourn the loss of the popular Bournemouth School for Girls pupil.
Headteacher of Bournemouth School for Girls, Alistair Brien described Connie as "a lovely, gentle natured girl with impeccable manners".
In a statement paying tribute to the popular schoolgirl, he also issued advice for parents concerned about meningitis.
The Year 11 student was in school taking mock GCSE exams last week and news of her death has caused shockwaves throughout the school community.
Kathleen Moore said: “My beautiful baby girl, with her beautiful mind, body and soul lost her fight to meningitis today (Sunday), devastated doesn’t come close.
“Thank you to all of Con’s friends and family that have been supporting us. Con would have been so happy that over 50 people came to root for her. I love you baby bear, sweet sweet dreams.”
Other tributes included one from Susie Moore which said: “I don’t want to think of life without you but have 16 years of amazing memories that will last a lifetime.”
Kyle Yourin said: “You are amazing. My heart goes out to all your family and friends. Goodnight con, gone but never forgotten” and Megan McHale added: “My beautiful best friend and cousin, I’m going to miss you so much, I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.”
Alistair Brien, headteacher at Bournemouth School for Girls said: "Connie was a lovely, gentle natured girl with impeccable manners. She was easy to talk to and totally reliable.
"She was studious and hard-working in class and also a talented singer out of school.
"Always bright and bubbly she had a wonderful laugh, much appreciated by all her many friends.
"She was always there for them and could always cheer them up if they were down.
"Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Connie’s family at this time.
"We will in the coming days have our own celebration of Connie’s life to share our memories of all that she meant to her very many friends. We are also putting in place measures to support girls in school.
"We understand that the cause of Connie’s death was a form of meningitis. I appreciate that this may cause anxiety amongst parents and pupils and I have written to them to reassure them.
"I have liaised with Public Health England, the authority responsible for giving advice in such circumstances. They advise that no special measures in school are necessary at the present time.
"There is no reason to make any change in the school routine and no reason for children to be kept at home.
"Clearly though if parents have any concerns about their own daughter’s well-being they should contact their GP immediately.
"Meningococcal bacteria are carried in the back of the throat of about one in ten people at any one time, but only very rarely cause illness.
"Most people who carry the bacteria become immune to them. The bacteria do not spread easily and only those who have had prolonged, close contact with the person are at a slightly greater risk of becoming ill.
"People who have not had prolonged, close contact, i.e. classmates, friends, social acquaintances, visitors to the house etc., are NOT at any greater risk than the rest of the population and do not need antibiotics.
"Those who have shared drinks with the case but have not had prolonged close contact also have no increased risks.
"Although illness with these bacteria only occurs rarely, it is sensible to be aware of the signs and symptoms.If you suspect that a member of your family is suffering from these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.
"Further information is available from NHS 111 or the meningitis charities which run 24 hour information lines for general information about meningitis or for requesting a leaflet."
A letter by head teacher Alistair Brien has also been emailed to parents with children at Bournemouth School for Girls, read it here: Letter from the BSG Headteacher.pdf
Connie’s death has been reported to the coroner and investigations will be carried out.
Her family have requested that condolences should be left on Connie's personal Facebook page.
- Health chiefs are warning people not to mistake meningitis for more minor illnesses like colds or flu.
The risk of meningitis and septicaemia heightens in winter when people’s immune systems are weakened from fighting common illnesses making them more vulnerable to bacterial meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia which affects around 3,400 people across the UK each year, are easily mistaken for milder illnesses but can kill within 24 hours and may cause serious, life-long disabilities.
As many as one in ten of those affected will die and a third of survivors will be left with after-effects, some as serious as brain damage, amputations, blindness and hearing loss.
More UK children under the age of five die from meningitis and septicaemia than any other infectious disease.
Christopher Head, chief executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) said: “Everyone at MRF was saddened to hear about the tragic death of Connie Moore and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time. January is one of the peak periods for meningitis and septicaemia and many parents are not aware that their children are not protected against all strains. There is currently no vaccine available in the UK against the most common cause of meningitis -- meningococcal B infection (MenB).
“A new vaccine against MenB is currently under consideration by the JCVI (the committee that advises Government on vaccines) and we are campaigning hard for it to be introduced as soon as possible. Vaccines have almost eliminated many types of meningitis and septicaemia but they still present a very real threat to our children so being aware of the symptoms and acting fast is essential to saving lives.”
Nicky McClure from Wimborne is an MRF regional ambassador who has had personal experience of the disease. Her daughter Megan was one of the lucky ones.
“Megan rushed to hospital in 2006 when she was three days old where they started treating her for meningitis straight away.
“We were told the next 24 hours were critical and if we had waited any longer to bring her in we would have lost her.”
Nicky said she would be going into Bournemouth School for Girls this week to distribute literature on behalf of the charity.
She added: “There are many different types of meningitis and it doesn’t discriminate by age, gender or race. The most important thing is raising awareness.”
Meningitis: know the symptoms
Symptoms can appear in any order, usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell, just like many mild illnesses.
Symptoms that more specific to meningitis include limb pain, cold hands and feet which often appear earlier than a rash (see glass test), neck stiffness, photophobia (dislike of bright lights) and confusion.
Not everyone gets all of these symptoms.
In some cases, a rash may not appear at all.
Glass test: Press a clear glass firmly against the rash to see if it fades under pressure. If it doesn’t, contact your doctor immediately.
Further information is available from NHS 111 or the meningitis charities which run 24 hour information lines.
Meningitis Research Foundation 0808 800 3344 or visit meningitis.org
Meningitis Now 0808 80 10 388 visit meningitisnow.org/meningitis-info