A couple left devastated by the loss of their son, who died in his cot only weeks after his first birthday, have been overwhelmed by the donations which have flooded into an online charity page.

Paul and Melissa Mead set up a JustGiving page so that friends and family could donate money in lieu of flowers following the funeral service on Saturday of their son, William Oscar, known affectionately as Grumpus.

They set a target of £500 which they had planned to donate to FLEET (Frontline Emergency Equipment Trust) to be used to buy paediatric lifesaving equipment for ambulances operating in the Falmouth and Penryn area, and/or a public access defibrillator. However, after news of William’s death spread, donations began to come in from total strangers and the total had reached £1,800 by yesterday.

William died on December 14, only weeks after he and Melissa had celebrated their birthdays on November 27. The little boy had been found lifeless in his cot at 8.30am and within three minutes and 55 seconds of them being called, an ambulance crew was at his bedside, but despite their best efforts he could not be revived.

It is the prompt response and the caring attitude of the ambulance crew that led Melissa and Paul to decide to donate money to buy equipment which could potentially save the life of another child in the area.

“When it was established that he had gone, they stayed with us until 9.45am, took us to hospital and stayed with us there until we were ready to leave,” said Melissa. “We were not just a number and William was treated with the utmost dignity and love – they were visibly upset. If there was anything that could have been done they would have done it – they were absolutely brilliant.”

It has been agreed that any equipment bought from the money donated in William’s memory will carry his name. “We never started a fundraising campaign per se,” said Paul, 31 and a manager with BT in Truro. “We set the JustGiving page up so family in Australia and New Zealand could donate.”

“It has far surpassed our expectations,” said Melissa, 28. “The more money we can raise, the more equipment can be bought which will benefit other children. There is nothing we can do to bring William back, but if there’s any way we can help prevent any other children or parents going through what we are going through on William’s behalf, that’s a little bit of comfort.”

Preliminary investigations have suggested William died of a pleural empyema due to a lung abscess which caused his organs to shut down. The full details will be revealed at a coroner’s inquest.

In the meantime, Melissa and Paul, who live at Glasney Place in Penryn, are struggling to come to terms with their loss especially as William was what they describe as a “miracle” baby.

“I was told it was unlikely I would ever have children so we never tried because we thought it wasn’t possible,” said Melissa, a PA at Worldwide Financial Planning in Truro. “I went to hospital one day in severe pain and they said you are pregnant.

“During my pregnancy I had 61 hospital appointments, but he came out absolutely perfect – he was a blessing. Every day, every minute we spent with him was precious and we treated it as such. He was our life, our lives revolved around him. He was an exceptionally happy baby, he was so content, he never cried. He was an absolute joy.

“Now we are parents, but we are childless and that is just so heartbreaking. There is no porridge to make, no bathing, no ironing or clothes washing. We have just had our lives ripped from underneath us. I do not know where we go from here or what we are going to do with ourselves. We have lost our purpose.”

William’s funeral service was held at Penmount Crematorium on Saturday and was attended by about 70 family members and friends. Paul and Melissa carried their son’s coffin and she read two poems and a letter she had written for William.

“For me, now that the service has been, it is so final. I cannot accept he is not coming back because I do not want to,” she said.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to FLEET in William’s name should go to www.justgiving.com/Grumpus  

Falmouth Packet:

William “Grumpus” Mead