First Epilepsy Action awards winners revealed in Leeds

A LEEDS business and a city councillor both won awards at the first Epilepsy Action Awards held at Leeds Civic Hall.

Epilepsy action awards Leeds Civic Hall 22nd mat 2018 Employer of the year Bartuf Ltd John Senior, left and andy Hewitt

Eiplepsy sufferer Coun Gerry Harper won the Fundraiser of the Year award after raising £27,000 for Epilepsy Action in his year as Lord Mayor of Leeds.

Armley-based business Bartuf Ltd won the Employer of the Year award, for the support they gave to an employee after he was diagnosed with epilepsy.

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John Senior, a member of Bartuf’s sales team, was diagnosed with epilepsy in January 2018.

Epilepsy action awards tues 22nd may 2018 Coun Gerry Harper with his fund raising award

The management team at Bartuf were recognised for responding quickly and thoroughly to support him.

Epilepsy awareness training, which Bartuf requested from Epilepsy Action, ensured all staff knew what to do when John had a seizure.

Both were in attendance to accept their awards at the ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall today (Tues May 22).

Epilepsy Action handed out awards in eleven categories, recognising the work of schools, healthcare professionals, and volunteers in the charity’s first awards ceremony.

Coun Harper was diagnosed with the condition in 2004.

He chose Epilepsy Action as his charity for the Lord Mayor’s appeal.

During his year as mayor, he and partner Lady Mayoress Lynn Scholes created, fundraised and spoke at over 450 events.

Speaking after winning the award for Fundraiser of the Year, Gerry Harper said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated and been chosen as Fundraiser of the Year for Epilepsy Action.

“All I wanted to do was to raise awareness of Epilepsy Action and the amazing work the charity does.

“Raising money was really important but also raising awareness of people who have epilepsy. How you can live as normal a life as possible and show people that you should not let epilepsy control your life.

“I also organised training for people to show what to do if you come across people having a seizure and how you can help them.”

Bartuf’s Project Manager, Andy Hewitt, collecting the award for the company said: “The Bartuf team are delighted to receive an award from Epilepsy Action as winner of the Employer of the Year Category.

“We are committed to providing a safe working environment for all our staff members. So supporting an employee with epilepsy so they can return to work was no real issue for the team. You could say the award came as a surprise as we did not realise such an award existed and we just did what we felt was right to help our colleague. Needless to say we are really happy our commitment and effort has been recognised.

“Thank you to Epilepsy Action for the training and support you gave in helping us understand the condition it certainly helped us throughout the whole process.”

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “We are delighted to acknowledge the wonderful work of Councillor Gerry Harper and Bartuf at our first Epilepsy Action Awards.

“Gerry’s fantastic fundraising efforts as Lord Mayor will make a huge difference to people living with epilepsy. Gerry’s commitment to speaking out about his epilepsy, and offering advice to others, has been both inspiring and invaluable in spreading awareness about a much misunderstood condition. The money he raised will help us support even more people with epilepsy.

“Bartuf have set a shining example of how to support an employee with epilepsy. They have gone above and beyond to learn about the condition, and to put measures in place to ensure that John is safe and comfortable at work.

“These awards reflect the wonderful efforts of the both Gerry Harper and Bartuf. They have our appreciation for their passion and commitment to the support of people with epilepsy.”

Epilepsy affects around one in every 100 people in the UK alone and 87 people are diagnosed with the condition every day.

Each year, Epilepsy Action directly helps over two million people through a range of services, including its Epilepsy Action Helpline, freephone 0808 800 5050, support group network and award-winning website, epilepsy.org.uk