A FUNDRAISING event held in memory of a teenage meningitis victim has raised thousands of pounds.
And organisers hope to continue collecting money.
The charity ball, which took place at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium, raised just over £4,000 to help pay for research into the brain disease which claimed the life of Rachael Crowther when she was aged just 17.
Rachael was a talented trampolinist and trained with the Kirklees Rebound Trampoline Club at Huddersfield Sports Centre.
Her outstanding ability at the sport saw her compete around the country, winning the Yorkshire Championships several times and representing Huddersfield in the British finals.
Youngsters in the Huddersfield area also benefited from the teenager’s coaching abilities at the club.
But what promised to be a shining future for Rachael, from Sheffield, was cut short a decade ago when she was struck down by meningococcal septicaemia.
Rachael’s many family and friends were left devastated when they lost her.
But they were determined not to let the teenager’s death be in vain, so decided to set up a memorial fund in her name to raise money to help future meningitis victims.
Over the past 10 years they have held various fundraising events and their efforts so far have raised an estimated £30,000.
The ball at the Galpharm, which included entertainment and a four-course meal, was organised especially to mark the 10th anniversary of Rachael’s death.
It was attended by the teenager’s family, including her mum Janet and dad Barrie and sister Joanne, those from her school in Sheffield, Greenhead Gymnastics Club and trampolinists from around the country.
The event was organised by Debbie Mallinson, a close friend of Rachael’s who was also a member at the trampoline club.
She said: “It was a brilliant event and very well attended.
“Everyone made a real effort to dress up and we raised a lot of money for the memorial fund.
“We’ve done something to every year to raise money or awareness.
“Rachael was highly thought of by everyone who met her. She would help anyone and was a loving and giving person. She touched a lot of people and so many had connections with her.
“She had a very bubbly character, so full of life and with lots of plans for her future. This was all suddenly taken away from her at the tender age of 17.”
Debbie was very close to Rachael and they were often paired together when they competed in contests across the country.
She added: “Her death was very sudden; she started feeling rundown on the Sunday and she was dead by the Friday.
“A few months after she passed away her memorial fund was set up and her dad did a walk from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. We all kept up the fundraising and since then we’ve raised over £30,000.
“Meningitis is a disease that can hit anyone and that everybody is susceptible to. Rachael was a very fit young girl and had her whole life ahead of her. But it was so suddenly and cruelly taken away.
“Everyone knows someone who has been affected by the disease, so it’s really important to raise awareness of it.”