News from The Kings of Wessex Academy

Students moved by charity close to their hearts

9th March, 2018 by Jude Owens

As one of their final duties, the Senior Student Team invited into school Mr Mark Phillips, Trustee from the national charity SUDEP Action to present a cheque as one of their nominated charities from last year’s Charities Week.

In an often moving, but hopeful talk in the Sixth Form assembly, Mr Phillips explained about the work of SUDEP Action that seeks to raise awareness of epilepsy risks, and maintains a register of information to monitor the symptoms and signs in order to be better informed in how to tackle epilepsy deaths and provide support to families who have lost loved ones from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Based in Oxfordshire, the charity was started in 1995 by five women who had all lost a child, or in one case, lost a partner to epilepsy, with the combined aim to prevent epilepsy related deaths by raising awareness and support those bereaved from epilepsy. Mr Phillips explained that SUDEP Action is unique in this purpose and that there are about three epilepsy deaths each day in the UK (about 1200 each year), many of which could be preventable. Sadly, Mr Phillips was speaking from the heart as one who suddenly lost his own daughter Lucy, 18 years ago aged only 15 from an epileptic fit and he shared his devastation from her unexpected loss.

Mr Phillips was however, speaking to an audience who were shocked by the sad loss of fellow student Johdi last October. Johdi’s mum Mrs Russell, her younger sister Aimie and close friend Gaby Sweeting also attended the assembly to be part of this special moment when Mr Phillips received his cheque to further the work of SUDEP Action. Mr Phillips was hugely grateful for the generous contribution of nearly £4,000 and praised the students for their hard work and endeavours to raise so much money in such a short time.

On behalf of all the students. the Senior Student Team thanked Mr Phillips for being with them and for explaining more about this important charity work and they were very proud that SUDEP Action was one of their chosen charities in memory of Johdi.

Mrs Russell has highlighted that Monday 26 March 2018 is Epilepsy Awareness Day when people are invited to wear something purple for the day to show their support and love. Even though it will be the first Monday of the Easter holidays staff and students will also be showing their support for the day in their purple finery.