A GUISELEY woman will undertake a fundraising walk this weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of her husband’s death.

Kevin Leaver, who was a popular teacher at St Mary’s Menston, died of meningitis on January 7, 2000 at the age of 50.

His loss - Mr Leaver died five hours after being admitted to hospital - came as a terrible shock to his wife, Lesley, and daughters Claire and Laura.

Determined to raise awareness of the signs of meningitis and the fact that adults can get it too, Lesley has been a volunteer Community Ambassador for Meningitis Now for years.

On Sunday, January 19 she will honour her late husband by taking on the 21km ‘eastern loop’of the London Winter Walk in his memory.

Lesley’s new husband, Jeff along with his brother Jon and Jon’s wife, Rachel will be supporting her on the walk which she hopes will raise more than £1,000 for Meningitis Now.

Writing on her www.justgiving.com page, she said: “On 07/01/00 my husband died in hours from meningococcal meningitis; he was 50, a wonderful father, husband and teacher.

“Our lives were changed in those few hours. The outcome might have been very different if we had known what all the symptoms were and that it isn’t only babies that can contract this disease.

“Like everyone else I have met through Meningitis Now in the 20 years since Kevin’s death I just want no-one else to go through what we did and to hopefully see a time when this disease is eradicated.”

Many of those who have already pledged donations are former pupils of Mr Leaver’s, which Lesley said was a testament to how respected he was at the Menston school.

She said: “Kevin had taught at the same school all his teaching career and he was by anyone’s standards an exceptional teacher. Many of the people supporting us are people who knew him when he taught. He was an incredibly popular teacher, described as the real heart of the school.”

The family have chosen to do the walk in London as Mr Leaver was born there, in the borough of Brentford.

Lesley added: “I am a walker but this is going to be a bit different as I am used to walking in the dales on soft ground. We think it’ll take us about five hours but luckily there will be some stops along the way!”

Meningitis Now’s Community Fundraising Manager, Leah Wynn, said: “It’s so lovely that Lesley is taking on this challenge to mark the twentieth anniversary of losing Kevin. As one of our Community Ambassadors she has worked tirelessly on raising awareness and funds in Kevin’s memory – like going into schools to talk about meningitis and how to recognise the signs and symptoms.” To sponsor Lesley search for her Walking in memory of Kevin Leaver page on www.justgiving.com.