Children from all six primary schools in Harwich in Essex took part in a Dress Like A Dog Day to raise funds in memory of a young woman who died from an epileptic seizure aged just 22.

Over 1,500 pupils raised more than £2,000 money for Support Dogs, the only charity in the UK to train seizure alert dogs to predict seizures in people with epilepsy.

The fundraising event was organised by the young woman’s mother, Nicky Patrick (pictured with Maisie below), who set up the Maisie Tothill Foundation following her daughter’s death in January this year, which along with other fundraisers has already raised in excess of £35,000 in Maisie’s name to support epilepsy charities.

Nicky, the head teacher at Spring Meadow primary school said: “I lost my 22-year- old daughter, Maisie Tothill, to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) earlier this year and we have been raising money from friends and family through a Just Giving page along with other fundraising activities in her name for both Support Dogs and SUDEP Action.

Nicky added: “Maisie was a remarkable young lady.  She graduated from Leeds University last summer with a degree in politics, which was one of her many passions.  Maisie wanted to use this to make a real difference, and through The Maisie Tothill Foundation, her family is ‘determined to make a difference’ to the lives of young people and their families by continuing to promote the causes that were so important to Maisie.

 “All of the schools have reported that they really enjoyed the day and found the assembly fun and informative. So many people commented on how fantastic it was to see all of the children walking to and from school dressed up as dogs.”

Tess Thompson from Support Dogs visited all five schools on Dress Like a Dog Day to talk to pupils about the life-changing work of seizure alert dogs.

Seizure alert dogs give a 100% reliable warning of an epileptic seizure up to 50 minutes in advance, enabling their owner to find a place of safety, and take control of the situation. In some instances seizure alert dogs have also been shown to reduce seizure frequency. Several of the charity’s epilepsy clients are able to lead near-normal lives thanks to their dogs.

Tess said: “We’re very grateful to Nicky to organising this event in memory of her daughter to raise both awareness of epilepsy, and funding to help us train more wonderful seizure alert dogs, who help our clients lead safer, more independent lives.”

Support Dogs is a national charity based in Sheffield which receives no government funding. It also trains dogs for children with autism, and adults with physical disability., and adults with physical disability.

Youngsters from Spring Meadow Primary School are pictured above.