YOUNGSTERS in Worcestershire are being encouraged to strap on their boots and stomp along to help fight meningitis.

Charity Meningitis Now has launched its 13th annual Toddle Waddle, inviting nurseries, parents, playgrounds and schools to hold a free sponsored stomp for under-fives.

This year’s event – entitled Under the Sea – is underwater themed and youngsters taking part will be able to learn about the mysteries of the deep blue sea.

The event is being organised in partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books and children’s author Nick Sharratt, who said he hoped people would get involved to help fight the disease.

“Toddle Waddle is a fantastic way for children to have fun whilst learning, and also a really easy way to support such a great cause,” he said.

“Meningitis is a terrifying disease because its symptoms are hard to spot and it often targets babies, toddlers and young children.

“It’s so important that people have all the information they need so they can act fast if they suspect meningitis.”

Those who sign up by calling 0845 120 4530 or at will receive everything needed to organise a Toddle Waddle, including fun sea-themed activities and fundraising tips.

The scheme’s coordinator Caroline McDonnell said: “Organising a waddle is a doddle.

“They can be held wherever and whenever you like and be as long or short as you want.

“The event submerges youngsters in fun and learning and will greatly help our work by raising awareness of meningitis as well as money to help fight it.”