Ron Radley sadly passed away on Sunday 12 April 2020 following a hospital admission with Covid-19. Ron had experienced poor health for a number of years, something he had borne with great courage and fortitude.
Ron devoted his working and voluntary life to furthering understanding about the educational needs of children and young people with epilepsy. He was a tireless and dedicated advocate and an authoritative voice on epilepsy and educational issues. He taught at both the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and at St Piers Lingfield, now known as Young Epilepsy. He was also the youngest ever head of a residential school for children with epilepsy, Sedgwick House.
Throughout his teaching career, Ron used approaches which were ground breaking in their time. He was responsible for a number of pioneering curriculum initiatives for children and young people with epilepsy, notably outdoor education challenges, including sailing and abseiling. Many of these have since been adopted by education authorities as common practice in both mainstream and specialist schools.
As a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal member, as a county education advisor and as a schools inspector, Ron constantly challenged peoples’ perceptions of epilepsy. He always promoted awareness of the condition and awareness of the issues faced by children and young people with epilepsy and by teachers and others working in education.
Beyond his working life, Ron’s interest and commitment to epilepsy extended into his voluntary roles. He served on the Council of Management of British Epilepsy Association (Epilepsy Action) for a total of 15 years over two periods of time between 1991 and 2007. During that time he served as Vice Chair of Council for three years between 2000 and 2003 and as Chair of Council for three years between 2003 and 2006. He also served on a total of eleven different Council committees, five of which related to education and young people with epilepsy. Closer to home, Ron also found time in his busy life to Chair the Kendal branch of Epilepsy Action and support his local Cumbria forum.
Ron was recognised and respected as a frequent public speaker at epilepsy conferences. It was never unusual to see a long line of people queuing up to talk to him after one of his presentations – all seeking his personal attention which, true to type, he always gave willingly.
In June 2008 Ron was awarded Epilepsy Action’s highest honour, the Lord Hastings Award, and was made an Honorary Life Member of the British Epilepsy Association, for his outstanding personal contribution to improving the lives of people with epilepsy.
Ron was a staunch supporter of Epilepsy Action over many years. His passionate advocacy will continue to inspire all of us who knew him and worked with him as we remember him with great affection and warmth.
14 April 2020