A man who has made a difference to the lives of children and young people with epilepsy has been given an award for his dedication.
Andy Evans, won the National Young Epilepsy Champions Individual award after starting a youth group which supports youngsters with the condition in the Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes areas.
Andy, who has had epilepsy since the age of 10, started the Eastbourne Area Epilepsy Group for adults nine years ago, but said he also wanted to offer support for youngsters.
Andy, whose own son was awarded several years ago for saving his life when he had a fit, said: “I have had epilepsy since the age of 10, when I hit my head when I fell off my bicycle. My seizures are now mainly under control with medication unless I get over tired or over stressed.
“Bringing my son up on my own since he was 10 months old, he is now 22 and went with me Wednesday, was hard and he got awarded when he was six by the ambulance people because they said he saved my life after a large seizure.
“Nine years ago myself and John Lumm wanted to start a support group for people with epilepsy, but also their family and friends. We give information and raise awareness wherever we can. We give talks to whoever needs the information, and of course we have to fundraise to survive. Eastbourne Area Epilepsy Group started off as just that but now we get phone calls from Seaford, Lewes, Uckfield, Crowborough and Heathfield.
“After a couple of years out with ill health, my wish had always been to do something for the youngsters, we always got asked what have you got for youngsters.
“I wanted to get the youth group going but I needed the support, someone with the same dedication as me, and last Easter I got my wish - Sally Wooller, now the group vice chair and youth group co-ordinator. We got the youth group off the ground last September, it meets in Eastbourne but youngsters from Seaford and Polegate attend.”
The awards evening was held at City Hall in London with a long list of celebrities in attendance. Andy added: “My award was presented by Carley Stenson from Hollyoaks.
“We are looking to forward the group through Lewes, Wealden, in 2014 through events.”