Clitheroe couple to take part in Great North Swim for charity

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A CLITHEROE couple are going to great lengths to raise money for a charity which helps those with a condition suffered by their teenage nephew.

David and Jenny Grooby, of Milton Avenue, will take part in the Great North Swim on Sunday, June 19th, for Epilepsy Action, a charity which provides information about coping with epilepsy and seizures.

Jenny’s nephew, 18-year-old Matthew Riley, was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy at the age of 13.

Jenny explained: “In most cases, epilepsy can be controlled through prescription drugs. However, this has not been the case with Matthew. He still has minor seizures three or four times a week, which appear to others as though he is staring into space.

“These last for about 30 seconds to a minute – sometimes he needs a sleep afterwards as the seizure makes him feel very tired, but afterwards he wakes up and he is back to his normal happy, smiling self. In spite of his condition, he is an inspiration to us all with his resilience and bravery.

“The impact on his family and friends has been massive. He is a popular lad and has lots of friends. They have all experienced his seizures and know how to look after him when one happens – stopping him from overbalancing or falling – generally looking out for him.”

Matthew, who is a former pupil of Ribblesdale High School Technology College and lives with his mother, Jane, has never let his epilepsy control his life.

He is currently midway through completing a diploma in sport at St Mary’s College, Blackburn. Sport has always played a big part in his life, playing football for Readstone United and Clitheroe Wolves, and also playing junior cricket for Read Cricket Club. He is now a regular player for Read United FC, sometimes playing with the first team.

Matthew also took part in the 2010 Bupa Great North Run, raising more than £1,300 for the charity, and was presented with a Epilepsy Action Edward award by his college.

Jenny said: “We are really looking forward to the Great North Swim and want to raise as much money as possible for Epilepsy Action. The outdoor swim is in the beautiful Windermere in Cumbria and I will be attempting the front crawl to make it more of a challenge. We have been braving outdoor swimming in Salford Quays in preparation of the event.”

l Anyone wishing to sponsor Jenny and David can do so by logging onto www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/grooby