THE parents of a boy who died after being given infected blood have spoken of their "elation" about finally getting recognition for their son. 

Newport couple Colin and Janet Smith lost seven-year-old Colin in 1990 after he contracted AIDS when given the infected blood as a baby.

Parliament has just voted to speed up compensation payment to bereaved families following the Infected Blood Inquiry which was set up in 2017.

South Wales Argus: Janet Smith whose son Colin died from AIDs. Copy pic of Colin on his last holiday in Devon (16407225)

Colin was a haemophiliac and had been treated with Factor VIII which was contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C from an American prisoner.

He was among thousands of people treated by the NHS who were given infected blood and infected blood products.

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For more than 30 years, Colin's parents have been fighting for justice for their son.

The Smiths believe the Government have been “dragging their feet” despite knowing for years about the dangers of infected blood.

Mrs Smith has described how she was “elated” following the passing of a vote that said the compensation of bereaved families should be sped up, and not wait until the full publication of the inquiry’s report, which has been delayed until March 2024.

She said: “I don’t remember hearing anything, I was just there in a state of shock. I couldn’t hear the cheering, the clapping anything.

"It was all so unbelievable that we’ve finally got somewhere with the fighting we’ve been doing all these years.”

Following an inquiry led by former High Court Judge Sir Brian Langstaff, the initial report stated that patients of the scandal should be compensated £100,000 in the interim while the full report is completed.

However, the Government refused to compensate bereaved families until the full report was published.

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Mr and Mrs Smith say that despite this vote being a “big step forward” it’s never been about that for them.

Mrs Smith explained: “I got so many people calling me and saying ‘I bet you’re happy you’re going to get all that money now’ and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“It’s never been about the money for us. It’s always been about our little boy.

"We need him to be recognised as a person. He has a name, but he’s only been a number to these people.”

South Wales Argus: Janet Smith whose son Colin died from AIDs, (contaminated blood transfusion), always gives his picture a goodnight kiss (16407223)

Sadly, as the scandal has taken so long to come to light, many of the people affected have died, and Mr Smith feels they have been pushed “from pillar to post” by the Government.

“I genuinely think the Government have been kicking this into the long grass in the hope that more people would die before they got to it, so they wouldn’t have to do anything,” he said.

“It’s got to the point now where there aren’t many of us left anyway, but we won’t stop fighting for justice.

“If we’d just got a proper apology from the Government at the time, we don’t think it would’ve got this far.”

One thing that has kept the family going has been the support from friends at Tainted Blood. 

“I don’t know what we would’ve done without them,” said Mrs Smith.

“Now, we’re fighting for them too, as some parents we’ve met are no longer here to fight for justice for their children.”

MP for Newport East Jess Morden has been campaigning for the compensation of the scandal victims for years alongside fellow Labour MP Diana Johnson and is determined to get an official written statement from the Government on their intentions before Christmas.

She said: “Although some people might look at this and think it’s all over now, it’s not for the families.

"At the end of the day, there is still a child in all of this, and I think people forget that.”

During a speech in the Commons earlier this month, Ms Morden spoke of the “absolute admiration” she has for the Smiths and their “dedicated campaigning and dignity”.  

She mentioned how Sir Brian has been “crystal clear” that a body should be set up now to get compensation for the families impacted by the scandal.

Mr and Mrs Smith hope to be able to use the money to secure the future of their other three sons, who lost out on a childhood while their brother was ill.

Mr Smith recollected how they rarely saw their other children more than “three times in a month” while Colin was in hospital.

“We couldn’t leave him, but I know the other boys really went through it. No child should have to see their brother fading away like that.”

The family had to deal with bullying in school, where children would use derogatory terms to Colin’s brothers and make comments about AIDS.

The abuse even continued outside, including damage being done to their gates and front door.

The Smiths now have a number of grandchildren, including one granddaughter who they both say is “the spitting image, the female version” of Colin.

“Our biggest regret is not having his brothers there when he died,” said Mrs Smith.

The other children were aware Colin was unwell, and used to refer to him as having “special blood”.

The family visit his grave regularly with their grandchildren and encourage them to talk about their uncle.

South Wales Argus: Mr and Mrs Smith have precious memories of their sonMr and Mrs Smith have precious memories of their son

Despite everything, the Smiths packed a lot into Colin’s short life and have precious memories of their son.

Mrs Smith shared: “He was such a cheeky, clever boy. He was completely Lego-obsessed and had everyone wrapped around his finger.

“He was the most funny, loving kid you’d ever meet, and had a wicked sense of humour. He really would do anything for anyone.”

Mr Smith believes that the vote has sent them in the “right direction” despite not having a full timescale for the payments.

This may mean they are still waiting for a year or more for justice, which Mrs Smith says, “terrifies me”.

Mr Smith said: “We’ve come so far now, and we are so close to getting him recognised. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. We won’t give up, and our family won’t let us give up.”