Parents raising money for charity which helped when baby Alfie was sick

Little Alfie Clark in hospital with bacterial meningitis at just 14 days old

Little Alfie Clark in hospital with bacterial meningitis at just 14 days old - Credit: Clark family

A couple from Hornchurch whose son caught bacterial meningitis at just two weeks old are getting ready to raise £1,000 for the charity that gave them a place to stay just minutes from his hospital bedside at the Royal London.  

Mary and Joe Clark realised something wasn’t right when little Alfie fell ill at their home. 

He was rushed to Queen’s Hospital A&E in Romford with a high temperature and having seizures.  

Baby Alfie recovering in intensive car at the Royal London Hospital

Baby Alfie recovering in intensive car at the Royal London Hospital - Credit: Clark family

He was put into an induced coma and transferred urgently to the Royal London in Whitechapel in a critical condition. The next 48 hours would be crucial, the couple were told.  

Mary and Joe, both 29, faced the prospect of travelling from home each day to be with him. But the Sick Children’s Trust stepped in with its “home from home” Stevenson House close to the Royal London which provides a place for parents to stay to be near their children.  

“We faced an hour’s journey from Hornchurch which would have added more stress," Mary said. "But Stevenson House gave us peace of mind to feel close to Alfie even when we weren’t able to be with him.”

Alfie's first birthday at his home in Hornchurch, February 2021 

So cute... Alfie's first birthday at his home in Hornchurch, February 2021 - Credit: Clark family

Alfie gradually recovered. He turned one in February and is a cheeky little boy who keeps his parents on their toes.  

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The couple are saying thanks to the charity by Joe doing a 55-mile sponsored bike ride to Brighton in September while Mary organises their sponsorship appeal.  

Joe, a self-confessed “exercise novice” who is now starting his cycle training, said: “I'm determined to complete this challenge. Alfie is my motivation, seeing him at the finish line.”  

Mary with 12-month-old toddler Alfie and dad Joe

Happy family... Mary with 12-month-old toddler Alfie and dad Joe - Credit: Clark family

The Sick Children’s Trust runs 10 “home from home” hostels up and down the country for families with a child in hospital to have a place to stay. But it needs public support. 

Charlotte Coldrey from the trust said: “I can see just how much having a place to stay meant to Mary and Joe and am pleased we could do that for them.”  

It costs the charity £30 for a family for each night. Wellwishers can support the couple on their Just Giving web page.