A health charity campaigner who lost her son to sepsis carried his ashes in a teddy bear as she attended Buckingham Palace to collect an honour.
Melissa Mead, an ambassador for the UK Sepsis Trust, was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace on Thursday for services to raising awareness of the disease.
Ms Mead, who attended with members of her family, took a teddy bear containing the ashes of son William.
“It is very bittersweet for everyone because we wouldn’t be here if William hadn’t died, but I know that he lives on in the thousands of lives that he has saved and that is the best that anyone can do,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have been here and done any of this if it hadn’t been for him giving his life,” she said.
“It is only fair and right that he is here with me because he is with me for everything that I do.”
Her family are “really, really proud”, she added.
William died at 12 months old in December 2014 of blood poisoning following a chest infection, which could have been treated with antibiotics.
He had been ill for six to eight weeks before he died and had been seen by GPs six times before his death.
Speaking after the ceremony, Ms Mead, from Penryn in Cornwall, said: “This is a wonderful way to be honoured, but the best way to be honoured is to be his mum.
“I am more proud of that than I am anything else.”
She added that she hoped the honour would give the cause “gravitas” and convince people “it is something worthwhile” to talk about.
“We are in the western world and people shouldn’t die of preventable diseases like sepsis, so if we can change that then that is the best thing we can do,” she said.
Also honoured at the ceremony, conducted by the Prince of Wales, were former England cricketer Matthew Maynard, rocker and cancer campaigner Michael Peters, Olympic rower Frances Houghton and dance choreographer Richard Alston.