Inspirational Hassocks resident, 83, becomes finalist for prestigious award after raising £30,000 for charity
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Judy Tilbury has been involved with the charity for 26 years and has raised £30,000.
Headway said she is up for a Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award, sponsored by No5 Barristers Chambers.
Judy first got involved with Headway Sussex in 1996 after her son Mathew, who was 24, tried to break up a fight and was hit on the head with a baseball bat, sustaining a severe brain injury.
Judy said: “It was just dreadful, and it affected our family so much because he was so young.”
Mathew went into a coma and never came out of it, dying nine days after the attack. Judy suffered a heart attack soon after.
When she heard about Headway Sussex she decided to support them, saying: “Although Mathew didn't go there, because he didn’t survive for any treatment; I just support Headway in what they do.”
In 2010, Judy’s husband Roy was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and died two weeks after his diagnosis. Judy became even more determined to raise funds for Headway Sussex, learning to swim at 70 and raising money through swimming challenges.
Judy actively raised funds until two years ago when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, but after chemotherapy and radiotherapy she continued to raise money as a volunteer. She used her experiences as a dressmaker and curtain maker to create handmade items for sale like embroidered Christmas decorations. During the Covid pandemic, she made more than 5,000 colourful facemasks, raising more than £8,000.
Michele Fleming, a trustee at Headway Sussex, nominated Judy for the award, calling her ‘a truly dedicated supporter of Headway’.
She said: “From the time of Mathew's death to the current day, Judy has worked tirelessly and selflessly to help raise funds for Headway Sussex in Mathew's and her beloved husband's memory.”
Judy said: “I’m absolutely amazed to be nominated for this national award. I just love helping people. All this is in memory of Mathew and my husband.”
The Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award will be presented by Headway at a ceremony on Friday, December 8, at the Landmark London hotel.