Scaling the heights

A GROUP of Brechin women will scale the heights of Scotland's highest mountain this weekend in memory of a sadly departed relative who would have relished the opportunity to tackle a similar challenge.

The group will include local woman Kelly Greig and Pauline Laurie, who will be walking Ben Nevis on Saturday, to raise funds for Epilepsy Bereaved.

Kelly explained: "Around Christmas time a group of friends said they were going to walk Ben Nevis to raise funds for a Brechin teenager, through Project Trust. Having had a few drinks, we thought this sounded like a great idea and decided to join them.

"We asked if it would be okay to join them to raise money for a charity which is very close to my heart.

"Of course, knowing of the loss of my niece Selena Milne in June 2007, they didn't mind at all and training has been underway ever since.

"Selena was a fun loving and vibrant 23-year-old when she died. She had lived a great life. She did quite a few fund-raisers herself for various charities, one of them being an abseil down the side of a building.

"I know if Selena had been here now, she would have wanted to do this walk with me.

"So far I have raised 2500 and am keen to raise more. If you remember Selena and would like to donate in her memory to Epilepsy Bereaved - who support families bereaved by epilepsy and fund research to prevent epilepsy deaths - we are keen to raise as much money as possible.

"The training has been hard but also great fun. We are a group of women all over 40 who don't normally do much in the way of exercise, so what a great challenge this is!

"I was keen to walk up Ben Nevis for Epilepsy Bereaved as Selena died of SUDEP and the charity have been a great support to my family since her death."

Epilepsy Bereaved began as a campaign by five women Catherine Brookes, Jane Hanna, Sheila Pring, Sue Kelk and Jennifer Preston.

Jennifer's son William died in 1988 (aged 22); Jane's partner and Sheila's son Alan died in 1990 (aged 27); Catherine's son Matthew died in 1991 (aged 21) and Sue's daughter Natalie died in 1992 (aged 22).

William, Alan, Matthew and Natalie were all young and active people who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Neither pathologists nor coroners were able to adequately explain why or how they had died. Their families were searching for answers to the question. Why did they die? All thought they were completely alone.

In 1995 the families created Epilepsy Bereaved to support families bereaved through epilepsy related death, and to campaign for a better understanding and prevention of SUDEP.

The charity set in place a system for bereavement support where bereaved families could make contact with other people who had experience of SUDEP. This helped break the sense of isolation and also provided opportunities to assist the work of the charity.