MENINGITIS pioneer, Steve Dayman, of Alveston, has seen his monumental charity efforts rewarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol.

Steve, who has embarked on a 32 year-crusade against the disease after it took the life of his 14-month-old son, Spencer, in 1982.

The man, who helped kick-start the campaign to raise awareness of meningitis in the UK, launched Spencer Dayman Meningitis UK in 1999, to primarily fund a £500,000 state-of-the-art research laboratory at the university.

The Spencer Dayman Meningitis Laboratories officially opened in April 2002 and now house a £2.5 million research investment.

He also ensured that the ‘glass test’ to check for a non-blanching rash is widely used.

Steve, who has walked the equivalent of halfway around the world, as part of various marathon walks, has raised millions of pounds towards vaccine development, spreads lifesaving awareness and travels across the UK meeting and inspiring affected families.

The doctorate comes just after the Government agreed to make the UK’s first Meningitis B vaccine free on the NHS, subject to price negotiations with its manufacturer.

The UK has one of the highest Meningitis B incidence rates in the world, it accounts for almost 90 per cent of the UK’s meningococcal cases.

One in 10 people affected will die and one in three will be left with debilitating after-effects such as loss of limbs or brain damage, according to campaigners.

Steve, who also received the MBE in 2010 for his work, said: “It’s an absolute honour to be recognised by the university, which houses the labs. The labs have made a significant difference towards a better understanding of the disease.

“I’m humbled, but the fight is bigger than one man. The honour is tribute to Spencer and the thousands of families touched by the trauma meningitis causes.

“Without my family and friends, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to make the contribution I have".

His latest mission was co-launching Meningitis Now, the UK’s largest meningitis charity - a merger between Meningitis UK and The Meningitis Trust in 2013.