Beryl Sharlot is the winner of 2019’s Hilary Figg Award for long service to Epilepsy Action.
Her award was presented by Richard Chapman, chair of the Epilepsy Action Council of Management. Beryl has dedicated the last 36 years to improving the world for people with epilepsy.
Beryl was inspired to volunteer for Epilepsy Action because of her personal experiences. 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 and respect they need alongside access to good quality health services.
Beryl first became involved with Epilepsy Action in 1983 under its original name, ‘British Epilepsy Association’ (BEA). Inspired by the stories of people in the Warwick District Branch, she began to volunteer her time. Beryl has helped to run support groups for people with epilepsy ever since.
Beryl was instrumental in establishing Epilepsy Action’s West Midlands Epilepsy Forum in 2006. This was in response to a lack of support for people with epilepsy in the West Midlands. The forum has lead to the creation of new support groups in locations where there was nothing before. There are now twelve Epilepsy Action support groups in the West Midlands reaching over 100 people every month.
The forum has been a loud voice in the campaign to improve health services for people with epilepsy across the West Midlands.
Beryl has delivered hundreds of epilepsy awareness training presentations to workplaces, community organisations and schools. This has helped them gain valuable knowledge and understanding of epilepsy and how to help people.
This year marks Beryl’s 30th anniversary as a member of the Council of Management of Epilepsy Action. In this role, Beryl has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with epilepsy all over the UK. Over the years, Beryl has held many different roles on the council. She was chair of the Council of Management from 2013 to 2016 and helped steer the charity through challenging and changing times.
Beryl is always looking for ways to support people in everything she does. In many ways, she has personally helped countless people and families affected by epilepsy.
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 with constant unwavering support, advice and help with all the activities I have done across England. Thank you, Beryl, for all you have done and continue to do.”
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. 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?
“All of my work has been so worthwhile and rewarding. I have always been so welcomed. I really would encourage anyone who can to consider how they can get involved with this charity’s lifechanging work.”