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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Aaliyah Rugg

Mum thought daughter was 'messing around' before sudden death

A "beautiful angel" who was taken far too soon was "adored" by her loving parents as tributes came pouring in.

Shirley Adderley said she thought her daughter Fay was "messing around" when she went to wake her up on November 20, 2020. But after being "unresponsive", it appeared the 18-year-old had suffered a seizure during the night.

Just two weeks before, Fay had officially been diagnosed with epilepsy after years of absent seizures, but her medication had still not arrived. Parents Shirley and Neil, of Huyton, want to raise awareness of SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy) as they said it was "like a lightbulb going off" and something that "no-one really survives".

READ MORE: Teen with 'biggest heart' dies from 'silent killer' days after diagnosis

Speaking to the ECHO, they said: "The seizures Fay had were during the night while she was in bed and this was the case here. The next morning I went in to get her up about 10am and I found her lying there.

"At first I thought she was messing around because we were supposed to be putting the Christmas decorations up but Neil knew right away. She was our only child and it's like our whole world has ended."

Since their story was shared, hundreds of tributes have come pouring in. Sara Peters said: "This is just utterly heartbreaking. Sleep tight beautiful Fay. Sending so much love to her mum and dad."

Shirley and Neil have paid tribute to their daughter Fay Adderley after her sudden and unexpected death at the age of 18 (Family handout)

Maxine Speight wrote: "So sad had all her life to look forward to so sad feel for poor family at this awful time", as Vicki Ferguson added: "A beautiful Angel taken too soon. Adored by her mum and Dad."

Fay began to experience absent seizures when she was a child but it wasn't until she was 18 that she was officially diagnosed with epilepsy. But just two weeks after the official diagnosis, on November 20, 2020, Fay passed away suddenly and unexpectedly after a seizure during the night.

Shirley herself lives with a condition called neural migration disorder meaning she too suffers with epilepsy. But despite Fay showing similar epileptic signs, she was told it could be down to anxiety rather than the condition.

However, the family found out after her death the 18-year-old had inherited the condition, which contributed to her sudden death. Now, the family are bravely sharing their journey in the hopes of raising awareness of the "silent killer".

ECHO readers have been sending messages of support to the grieving family, and also bravely speaking out about their own experiences with the "misunderstood condition". Lesley Slater said: "This is so sad, sorry to hear about this. I have epilepsy too. Its horrible. Lots of people don't understand it. There's so many different types of seizures and medications. I wish more could be done over epilepsy."

Jessica Shore added: "So sorry for your loss. I Started having seizures in may and mostly at night . It’s turned my world upside down . Epilepsy isn’t spoken about enough and there is so little awareness around the different types of seizures."

Shani Hanson wrote: "So sorry for the tragic loss of your beautiful daughter, thanks for sharing, hopefully we can avoid another tragedy by raising awareness", as Gemma Coker said: "So sorry for your loss. Epilepsy is such a cruel disease that causes a daily struggle to not be afraid to live your life. May you RIP."


According to the NHS, Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures. Seizures are bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works. They can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Possible symptoms include:

  • uncontrollable jerking and shaking, called a "fit"
  • losing awareness and staring blankly into space
  • becoming stiff
  • strange sensations, such as a "rising" feeling in the tummy, unusual smells or tastes, and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs
  • collapsing
  • sometimes you might pass out and not remember what happened.

More information can be found here. For more information on the SUDEP charity, click here.

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