Why Clitheroe Castle is turning purple this week

Richard and Clare Blatchford with Joseph, front left, and younger son Oliver.
Richard and Clare Blatchford with Joseph, front left, and younger son Oliver.
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A Clitheroe couple whose son suffers from epilepsy organised for Clitheroe Castle’s keep to be lit up purple this week to help raise awareness about the condition.

Clare and Richard Blatchford’s eight-year-old son Joseph was diagnosed with epilepsy just after his fifth birthday and since then the couple have been campaigning to raise awareness of the debilitating condition.

Mum Clare said: “Each year we run a ‘Wear Purple’ day for epilepsy and all proceeds go to Epilepsy Action, a charity that has supported us constantly since Joseph’s diagnosis four years ago.”

A pupil at St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School in Clitheroe, Joseph, who is nearly nine, suffers with uncontrolled epilepsy.

“He misses a lot of school and social activities because of his seizures, but never complains, is always smiling and caring,” Clare added. “By holding this event each year, we hope to raise awareness of epilepsy as an invisible disability, and generate funds for Epilepsy Action to help and support other families just like ours.”

On Purple Day, the world’s biggest epilepsy awareness day, the couple organised a “Wear Purple” for Epilepsy Day and with pupils at Joseph’s school wearing non-uniform in return for a £1 donation.

Last year, the event at St Michael and St John’s raised £265.06 after staff and parents also baked cakes which were sold in school during the morning break.

All the funds raised through the event and a Just Giving page set up by the couple will raise money for Epilepsy Action.

The charity exists to improve the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. As well as campaigning to improve epilepsy services it offers assistance in a number of different ways. These include a national network of branches, epilepsy awareness volunteers and freephone and email helplines.

So far the couple has raised £145 in donations through their Just Giving page.

Clare, who is an account manager for a flooring manufacturer, and self-employed electrician Richard, a former pupil of Pendle Primary School and Ribblesdale High School, have two other children, Oliver (six) and Louis (20 months).

Consultants have identified a mark on Joseph’s brain and he is set to have another MRI scan at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in April.

However, because Joseph’s brain is still growing, it is hard to pinpoint the exact area which would need operating on.

“We will have more information about how we will proceed then, but surgery still isn’t an option a the moment,” explained Clare.