Hector was 13 when he had an epileptic seizure just a few metres away from us but in a different room. We don’t know exactly what happened but when we found him some minutes later he wasn’t breathing.Hector was diagnosed with absences when he was 10 and aged 12 he had his first tonic-clonic seizure. We never managed to control either his absence seizures or his epilepsy with drugs. He was on his fourth set of medication, but nothing had worked. So, without us really thinking about it he did fall into a higher risk category for SUDEP, a young male with uncontrolled seizures. But at his worst he had a one fit a week and sometimes there were gaps of 4 or 5 weeks.

So, we took the view that we couldn’t let epilepsy define his life; he certainly didn’t want it to. As a family we enjoy anything to do with water – Hector and his brother Rory became keen dinghy sailors and windsurfers – the more wind the better. They loved learning to water ski this summer and donutting behind their uncle’s rib. We spent our summers sailing and on beaches in Scotland and Devon. Hector loved playing in the surf – the bigger the waves the better.

Hector had two great passions: art and climbing hills. When he painted he was totally immersed, totally focused and happy. All that mattered was the painting he was doing. Walking up a hill he was always way out in front. He was a mountain goat and found it very frustrating that we couldn’t keep up with him. His friends and family were well used to seeing him charging off into the distance and his school teachers devised many ways to keep him with the group. He also loved playing rugby, cross-country running, skiing and playing the trumpet.

He will be remembered for his beaming smile, twinkling eyes and his wicked sense of humour – he loved winding up his family. His friends will remember him for always being positive and making them laugh.

– The Trafford family, January 2018

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