Following the untimely death of their daughter Samantha in December 2005 to SUDEP, Helen and Mike Pennicott wanted to find a way to raise awareness of epilepsy and decided to open a memorial fund in her name. Donations from friends and family at the funeral raised over £1,100 but that was not enough.Finding different ways to part people from their money, Helen, along with Sam’s boyfriend Darren, decided to do a skydive from 10,000 feet. Considering Helen has a fear of heights and Darren fears flying, this seemed the obvious option! On 11 June, at Dunkeswell Airfield, they launched themselves out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft with just a large silk hankerchief attached to their tandem friend. Luckily they landed in one piece and ensured Sam’s fund had a fantastic boost.

Each year, Le Creuset (Helen’s employer) chooses a charity to support. In memory of Sam, it was decided to sponsor Epilepsy Research UK. In August, a “Farmfest” was held in Postbridge, Devon, where 499 people attended a mini rock festival and had a fantastic time. With tickets, hog roast and the usual beverages, over £2,300 was raised for the charity.

On 24 September, 26 employees from Le Creuset, members of their families, customers and suppliers, cycled “Le Tour De Store” from the shop in Andover to the shop at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. After 51 miles of cycling, drinking water and eating chocoate, their aching limbs managed to raise over £2,000 to boost the memorial fund.

With all of this and Sam’s friends running the London Marathon, we hope to raise £10,000 by the first anniversary of her death. Plans for madcap fundraising for next year are already on the drawing board.

In July 2006, Mike was presented with a posthumous BA Hons Degree for Sam – the work she had completed for her degree in Interior Design was enough to ensure she was awarded the accolade she so richly deserved.

To make a donation to Samantha’s memorial fund, please use the link below.