Promising swimmer, 13, dies from meningitis

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a sporty 13-year-old schoolboy who has died from meningitis.

Gregor Smith, a keen competitive swimmer, died in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, on Sunday evening just seven hours after falling ill.

His parents Jenny and George and older sister Rachel are now preparing a funeral for the popular teenager and friends from Kirkcaldy High School have organised a sponsored walk to raise funds for research into meningitis.

Kirkcaldy High School rector Derek Allan said yesterday both pupils and staff were shocked and saddened by Gregor’s death. He said: “Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends during this very difficult time. Gregor was a popular pupil, well-known and liked by staff and pupils. He will be a huge loss to us all.”

The school is liaising with Fife’s public health team, although the chances of other pupils contracting meningitis is said to be very low.

However, pupils have been given leaflets to take home to alert parents and carers of the signs they should look out for.

Mr Allan added: “We have also set aside some quiet space in the school for pupils and staff, who are being comforted by our own staff and a Fife Council support team.”

Talented swimmer Gregor, a former pupil of Capshard Primary School, was a junior squad member of the town’s Fins competitive swimming club.

The club yesterday expressed “great sadness” at Gregor’s death and passed on their sympathies to his family. Senior coach Graham Irvine said he was struggling to take the tragedy in. He said: “Gregor had been at the club as long as I can remember, and came through our teaching and development programmes.

“He had been a junior squad member for the last two years.”

He added: “He was a youngster who I, along with our head coach, were looking to develop into an athlete as he moved through adolescence.

“He will be missed greatly by his peers within the squad as they spend a considerable time with each other training and become more like family than friends.

“His confidence and cheeky ways will be how I remember him most as we come together as a club, to try and come to terms with the pain and unfairness of his passing.”

A sponsored walk has been organised from Kirkcaldy to Kinghorn and back at 11:30am on Saturday 9 March.