84-year-old Leamington woman wins national volunteering award for speaking up for people with epilepsy

Leamington’s Beryl Sharlot has been recognised by national charity Epilepsy Action for her three decades of volunteering.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:28 pm
Beryl Sharlot with Will Butterworth, Epilepsy Actions central England manager, who nominated Beryl for the award.

She received The Hilary Figg Award for long service to Epilepsy Action at a presentation at the charity’s Leeds headquarters last week.

Beryl was inspired to volunteer for Epilepsy Action because of experiences known to her personally. Her work has impacted on thousands of people with epilepsy at a local, regional and national level. She has ensured that people have the support they need and have access to good quality health services.

Beryl, 84, first became involved with Epilepsy Action in 1983, joining the Warwick District Branch of the charity. Inspired by the stories of people in this support group, Beryl began to volunteer her time. Beryl has helped to run a support group for people with epilepsy in Warwickshire ever since.

Responding to a lack of support for people with the condition in the area, Beryl was instrumental in establishing Epilepsy Action’s West Midlands Epilepsy Forum in 2006. This network of local support for people with epilepsy has set up a number of new support groups in locations where there was nothing before. The forum has also been a loud voice, campaigning to improve health services for people with epilepsy across the West Midlands.

Beryl is trained to give epilepsy awareness presentations. She has helped hundreds of people, in workplaces, community organisations and schools across central England, have a better understanding of epilepsy and how to help. This year marks her 30th anniversary as a trustee of Epilepsy Action, where she has worked tirelessly to safeguard the future of the charity and improve the lives of people with epilepsy all over the UK.

Accepting the award, Beryl said: “I am honoured to receive this award. It has been a privilege to do so much for people with epilepsy, and so rewarding. Epilepsy can have a huge impact on a person’s life. If we don’t speak up for people with epilepsy and help them amplify their voice, then who will?

Will Butterworth, Epilepsy Action’s central England manager, who nominated Beryl for the award, said: “Beryl will always help out wherever and whenever she can. She is always in front of the queue to offer her help. She also has a delightful quality of letting others have the opportunity to help with activities. She is more than happy to take a back seat from time to time.

“Beryl has provided me was constant unwavering support, advice and help with all the activities I have done across the central area. Thank you, Beryl, for all you have done and continue to do.”

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “We’re delighted to acknowledge Beryl’s tireless commitment to volunteering by giving her our most prestigious Epilepsy Action award. This award is a deserved tribute for her unwavering commitment to supporting people with epilepsy for over 36 years.

“As a charity we rely on the support of people who are committed to improving the lives of people with epilepsy. These awards reflect the wonderful efforts of the recipients and mark our appreciation for their passion and commitment to the support of people with epilepsy.”

The Warwick District coffee and chat group meets on the second Wednesday of the month from 2pm - 4pm, at the Parade Premier Inn, Leamington Spa. Anyone affected by epilepsy who would like support is welcome to attend.

More about the awards

The Epilepsy Action Awards celebrate the UK’s epilepsy heroes. They recognise and celebrate those who have made a real difference to those with epilepsy in the UK. A total of 11 awards will be presented across the country during November, honouring the work and commitment of volunteers, fundraisers, schools, employers and healthcare professionals.

More about Epilepsy Action

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