A HEARTBROKEN husband who lost his soul mate to meningitis has joined a fight to urge the government to make a meningitis vaccine part of the childhood immunisation programme.

Mick Woods, of Clayton-le-Moors, is supporting Meningitis UK’s campaign to secure Bexsero as a regular inoculation, amid claims it could save thousands of lives.

The retired office manager lost his wife, Cath, at the age of 61, to meningococcal septicaemia, a form of meningitis, in November.

Just days earlier she had complained of feeling lethargic.

Mick, 62, of Moorside Drive, said: “Introducing the vaccine is a no brainer. I knew nothing about meningitis until November 8 last year. Now I know a lot about it.

“Meningitis just creeps up on you, and you don’t even know what it is until it’s too late.

“Cath was a fit person. She didn’t smoke, or drink, and we both loved walking. I thought she had flu and when I described her symptoms at a chemist I was told it was flu.”

The charity has launched the campaign Beat It Now, which is pressing for the meninigitis B vaccine to be introduced into the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

Mick had retired as office manager at a bookmakers in September, and was waiting for Cath to join him when tragedy struck.

She had worked as a team leader at the pensions centre, in Simonstone, for 15 years.

She had complained about her limbs feeling heavy after work and Mick checked on her every hour. But her face began to swell and a purple rash developed.

Though she was rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, her condition deteriorated and she later died.

Charity founder Steve Dayman, who lost his 14-month-old son, Spencer, to meningitis and septicaemia 31 years ago, said: “This ground-breaking vaccine is the most important development since I began my fight against meningitis 30 years ago.

“The Government must introduce the meningitis B vaccine into the immunisation schedule as soon as possible.

“It will save thousands of lives and spare families so much suffering. Any delay in giving people the vaccine means lives lost.”