#ThumbsUpForCoby campaign launched following death of Cranbrook schoolboy who caught the flu

Coby Simons, who died after falling ill with the flu. Photo: NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon

Coby Simons, who died after falling ill with the flu. Photo: NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group - Credit: Archant

The parents of a Cranbrook schoolboy who died from flu in January this year are calling on mums and dads to vaccinate their children.

Louise Simons and Jamie Chrichard say they don’t want other families to go through the pain they have suffered since their nine-year-old son, Coby, died of pneumonia, just days after coming down with flu.

The couple have launched the #ThumbsUpForCoby campaign, which urges parents to vaccinate their children.

Catering supervisor Louise said: “Coby was strong and hardly ever poorly. He was kind and bright and had lots of friends at school, but we have lost our baby boy and it hurts every single day.

“Please don’t put your children at risk - make sure they have the flu vaccination and help us spread this message far and wide.”

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Coby was a year 5 pupil at St Martin’s Primary School.

A keen mathematician, he also enjoyed listening to Ed Sheeran and browsing YouTube.

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His dad Jamie, a stonemason, said: “We miss Coby every day and our life is not the same without him.

“This campaign means a lot to us and the vaccination may well have helped our little man. We don’t want anyone to go through what we have been through.”

The free vaccination programme has been extended this year, meaning the nasal spray vaccine is offered to primary school children from reception, through to and including year 5.

In coming years, the programme will roll out to all primary school children.

Pre-schoolers aged two to four are also eligible for a free vaccine.

The #ThumbsUpForCoby campaign is being run in partnership with Devon’s NHS and public health organisations, who say getting the vaccination is simple. Dr Virginia Pearson, director of Public Health Devon, said: “Louise and Jamie are helping save the lives of other children with their heartfelt and powerful message.

“The #ThumbsUpForCoby campaign is already attracting wide support from other parents who are taking their advice and protecting their children. There is no cure for flu that we can give, so getting the vaccine is the single best way to prevent people catching flu and spreading it.”

To support the campaign message, use the #ThumbsUpForCoby hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.

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