Stones ready to roll up hills

Chris, Gemma and Jack Stone
Chris, Gemma and Jack Stone

A QUICK night-time check by a Morpeth couple on their baby may well have saved his life.

Chris and Gemma Stone knew that their son Jack, 24 days old at the time, was not feeling well earlier in the day but it was not until they took his temperature in the evening before they decided to take him to hospital as a precaution.

Even then, they did not think it was too serious until doctors gave them the horrifying news that he had been struck down with neonatal meningitis.

Thankfully, the early diagnosis meant he was able to improve after treatment and, now eight months old, Jack has not picked up any of the side effects such as the loss of fingers or toes, hearing and vision problems and learning disabilities.

Now the couple are getting ready to put in the miles to help other children who contract the disease as they are doing the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing up to the highest points in England, Scotland and Wales – in two weeks time for charity.

Mrs Stone, 29, said: “Jack was out of sorts that day and had a bit of a temperature, but he didn’t have any other symptoms so we didn’t think he was very ill.

“But he was even hotter when Chris checked him between 8pm and 9pm and as we’re first time parents we checked online and saw that it was high enough to ring NHS Direct.

“We were advised to go to hospital and after visiting Wansbeck we were told to head to North Tyneside General so the paediatric unit could take a look at him.

“They were able to see him straightaway and gave him a lumbar puncture and we started to think his condition was a little more serious, but we were stunned when we were told at about 2am that he had neonatal meningitis.

“Jack was put on antibiotics and the next few days were very scary waiting in the hospital for updates as his temperature kept spiking. We were eventually able to nip home on the fifth day after his diagnosis because he had made a noticeable improvement.

“We were told that if we had not taken him to hospital that night he may never have woken up. As it turned out, he has been able to make a full recovery.

“We’re so grateful to the doctors and other staff at North Tyneside General as the level of care they gave our son was outstanding.”

Her and Mr Stone, 33, have been training for climbing Snowdon (Wales), Ben Nevis (Scotland) and Scafell Pike (England) in the space of 36 hours by doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks and hiking in the Cheviots.

They are raising money for the Meningitis Trust and have already brought in £3,000 thanks to the support of family, friends and work colleagues. Jack’s godparents Andrew Mackay and Rachael Sellars and friend of the couple Richard Hill are also doing the challenge.

Mrs Stone said: “We decided that doing the three peaks would be a good way to raise lots of awareness about meningitis and much needed funds for the charity.

“We’re both fit but not athletes by any means, so it’s going to be a tough couple of days. However, we’re all looking forward to it and it will be a great sense of achievement to complete the challenge.”

Anyone wanting to donate to the team can do so by visiting