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Parents' warning after Christmas Day tragedy
CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY: Andrew McCall gazes in wonder at the family tree on Christmas Eve – just a few hours before he died from swine flu.
A GRIEVING couple have urged other parents to vaccinate their children against deadly swine flu after discovering their little boy had died from the illness.
Distraught Sarah-Jane and Iain McCall found their 23-month-old toddler Andrew dead in his cot on Christmas morning.
Their plea is backed by health chiefs in Hampshire, who are warning parents not to ignore the threat of the killer virus - as swine flu jabs for under-fives are available for just two more weeks.
Sarah-Jane told how she had put her seemingly healthy toddler to bed on Christmas Eve.
But tragedy struck when the following morning the couple went to wake the little boy and found him face down.
Sarah-Jane said: "I went to touch him to wake him up but in that moment I knew my baby was dead and I was far, far too late because he was so cold.
"I picked him up in my arms but the coldness of his body ran through my entire body and left me numb."
The couple, from Lower Duncan Road, Park Gate, who were visiting Andrew's grandparents near Bristol, fought desperately to revive their only child but there was nothing they or paramedics could do to revive him.
"His death was a feeling of utter disbelief and shock that he had been so well and healthy the day before," said Sarah-Jane.
A post mortem revealed that Andrew, who had no underlying health issues, had died from swine flu.
Iain, a planning manager, said: "The only way you can protect your children from this is by getting the vaccination "We are determined to make a positive come from this."
Sarah-Jane added: "I don't want other people to lose their babies."
* THE Daily Echo today launches a campaign, called Do It For Andrew, to encourage Hampshire parents to get their children vaccinated against swine flu before March 31. .
All children aged between six months and five years are eligible for the jab.
Contact your GP surgery or, if you live in Southampton, ring NHS Southampton City on 023 8029 6904.
If you live in Hampshire ring NHS Hampshire on 023 8062 7444.