When Ieuan Pugh started feeling tired, feverish, and complaining of a bad stomach, his mum naturally assumed he had caught a typical winter bug.

But within hours his condition took such a dramatic turn for the worse that he stopped breathing and needed an emergency trip to hospital where doctors discovered he had both meningitis and sepsis.

Despite more than a dozen medics working desperately to save the poor boy's life Ieuan's organs shut down and he died on November 25, 2019, aged just 11 years old.

"I remember sitting there blaming myself. I knew about sepsis and I knew about meningitis but why couldn’t I stop this from happening? I tried to act as quickly as I could but it still wasn’t enough to save our son," said his devastated mum Samantha Watkins.

Ieuan Pugh, from Ely, Cardiff, died of sepsis and meningitis at the age of 11 in November 2019

Ieuan, who adored the Sea Cadets, went to Cardiff West Community High School as normal on Friday, November 22, last year before going to stay with his dad for the weekend.

"He came back at 6pm on Sunday evening like he always does and his dad said he had been unwell over the weekend with a bit of a temperature and feeling lethargic," recalled Samantha, of Ely, Cardiff.

"He went and had a lie down on the settee and he was being 'harassed' by his twin three-year-old brothers which is completely normal. They were jumping all over him trying to get him to go and play.

"So I suggested he go upstairs for a bit of peace and quiet. I just thought it was a typical winter viral thing and gave him some Calpol. I went up to check on him an hour later and he was in the bathroom with diarrhoea. This confirmed to me that he had an upset tummy."

Ieuan had started secondary school only weeks before he passed away

However on her final visit to his bedroom before going to sleep herself Samantha noticed something about Ieuan which triggered alarm bells.

"I noticed a patch on the floor and realised Ieuan had been sick. I popped on the light so I could clean up and as I looked at him I realised he was now covered head to toe in a deep purple rash.

"I went into panic mode and screamed down to my husband to grab the phone and dial 999."

Samantha Watkins holding a photograph of Ieuan

Samantha, who is qualified in first aid, was told by the Welsh Ambulance Service that it would be a four-hour wait for an ambulance to arrive.

"Ieuan’s eyes looked glazed over and he was failing to make much sense," she said.

"Although he was breathing it was very laboured and very strange. At one point he did stop breathing so I rang the ambulance back straightaway.

"Thankfully they did send an ambulance around, this time within minutes, but we had to start CPR on him. I was petrified."

Ieuan pictured with his mum Samantha Watkins

Ieuan was brought downstairs in preparation for the paramedics' arrival at their Ely home.

"We wanted to keep him away from all our other children who were still asleep," Samantha added.

"The second paramedic hadn't even made it to the door when the first made the decision to carry him out to the ambulance.

"When we got into the ambulance and antibiotics were given to him he seemed to improve and start making sense again. At that point I had some hope he'd be okay."

Ieuan pictured with his younger sister Seren

An intensive care bed was set aside in preparation for Ieuan's arrival at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

"The critical care team were waiting for us and they began work straightaway," Samantha said.

"I felt like the whole thing was a big blur. I was just sat on a chair watching 13 people all working their hardest and trying their best to save my precious son."

A doctor explained to Samantha that her son was "very, very ill" and was likely to have both meningococcal septicaemia and sepsis.

"I just broke down. I still didn't want to believe that it was as bad as it actually was."

Ieuan then went into cardiac arrest three times but on the third occasion his life could not be saved.

"When they were still working on him they asked me to go back up to the room where he was just to hold his hand and speak to him so he could hear my voice."

Samantha said her life has not been the same since Ieuan's sudden passing and she admitted experiencing bouts of depression.

"The shock of my young son dying so quickly, especially after such a short bout of illness, is a reminder of just how quickly sepsis can have its terrible effects and how important it is for action to be rapidly taken," she added.

Ieuan with his best friend Zachary Bratcher

Following his death Samantha said she and the rest of the family were taken to a special bereavement room at the hospital where they were given a memory box by charity 2 Wish Upon a Star.

"Ieuan was given an elephant teddy and they also gave us an identical one but the nurse was adamant that because I had other children they needed elephants too.

"I'll remember Ieuan as the ultimate prankster. He was forever winding us up. His confidence grew and grew with the Sea Cadets. He thrived and flourished with them."

To mark the first anniversary of his death Samantha and her nine-year-old daughter Seren have decided to carry out 11 challenges to raise money for 2 Wish Upon a Star, the UK Sepsis Trust, and the Royal British Legion.

It includes climbing the equivalent of Ben Nevis, a 12-hour gaming marathon, and running a virtual marathon. To donate please go to www.gofundme.com/f/for-ieuan.

Samantha added: "I have been completely blown away by the support everyone has shown. I decided to take on the challenges as a way of keeping me distracted."