WHEN Adam Prewer heard his infant son was being treated for suspected meningitis, his world turned upside down.

He said: “When you hear that word your heart sinks, you feel helpless and pray everything goes well.” Six-week-old Finnley was rushed to Banbury’s Horton General Hospital after Mr Prewer and wife Sandra noticed he was pale and drowsy.

Luckily, Finnley had viral meningitis, which is more common and less severe than bacterial meningitis. But the experience brought home to the Prewers the vital work of the hospital’s children’s unit and they wanted to give something back.

Now Mr Prewer, with the help of his employer, estate agent Stanbra Powell, has raised £2,500 for the unit through a charity golf day. He said: “Only after the event do you look back and see how serious it was. “Naturally it is always in the back of your mind, the worst-case scenario.

“Only afterwards you realise it could have been serious and had a horrendous ending.”

The Middleton Cheney couple noticed something was wrong when they were bathing Finnley in December last year.

“We got him out and his skin was very pale. We took him up to the hospital.

“They said it was a virus but they double checked with the children’s ward and within about 20 minutes he was taken back and drips were going into him.

“It was amazing how quickly it happened.”

The tot was treated with Calpol and painkillers and kept in for two days, during which the Prewers said they were helped massively by staff.

Estate agent Mr Prewer said: “They were superb, they looked after him so well.

“They were very caring and professional, constantly updating us about what was going on, reassuring us. You knew you were in safe hands.”

Now Finnley is a healthy, happy 10-month-old and the family hope the golf day will be an annual event.

The June event, at Silverstone Golf Club, raised cash for the charitable fund at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

This helps pay for equipment over and above what is provided by the NHS. Children’s ward senior nurse Zoe Butler said: “We think it is outstanding that the family has spent the time to organise a day to raise money for our ward.

“The money is valuable for new equipment. We are really pleased.”

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis in babies and young children include being floppy and unresponsive, vomiting and sleepiness.

It is most common in under-fives and, if untreated, can cause severe brain damage and blood infections. Most people with viral meningitis have mild flu-like symptoms like headaches and fever.