A MAN whose son died from epilepsy has urged more people to get involved in raising cash for research into the condition.
Businessman John Firth, speaking in Elland, said his youngest son, James, was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 14, after suffering a fit at home. He died at the age of 22, while on a family holiday.
Mr Firth, chief executive of electronics components distributor Premier Farnell in Leeds, said: "He lived a very full life. Two years ago, he and his brother Matthew trekked through Peru.
"Although we knew he had fits, we were mainly worried that he could hurt himself. You never think that epilepsy can be fatal."
Mr Hirst said epilepsy was a hidden illness which did not attract much media attention.
He said: "You don't get celebrities talking about their battle against epilepsy the way they talk about their battle against cancer."
Mr Firth said that in 85% of cases, epilepsy could be controlled. Yet 1,000 people a year still died from the condition.
He added: "Epilepsy is not fully understood, yet research into it struggles to raise £3m or £4m a year, compared to many millions raised for much more well-understood diseases, such as cancer or leprosy."
Mr Firth was speaking at the Calderdale Business Lunch organised by mayor Clr Geraldine Carter and held at Bertie's Banqueting Rooms.
Clr Carter has pledged to raise £50,000 for The Fund for Epilepsy charity during her year in office and the lunch - attended by almost 100 guests - was held to raise cash for it.
In his speech, Mr Firth also outlined how his company worked closely with its customers, including Rolls-Royce and Motorola, to provide components promptly.
And he urged firms to forge closer links with customers and suppliers, to improve efficiency and outpace their competitors.