A MOTHER is raising funds for two charities in celebration of the life of her 19-year-old son who had severe epilepsy and sadly died in April.

Helen Turtle - who grew up in Tangley, attended Winton School and later lived in Hurstbourne Tarrant - lost her son Joshua on April 7 at Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice in Surrey.

Joshua Jonas Nathaniel Turtle lived with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy, and at times could experience between 300 and 400 seizures a month. He was also diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum.

He was born nine-weeks prematurely by emergency caesarean section on May 30 2002 at Frimley Park hospital, weighing just 2lb9.

Paying tribute to her son, Helen said: “It was a miracle that he even survived. He was always very giggly, he never lost that all his life. He had a real sense of humour, even though he didn’t speak much.

“Josh was well-loved. He was charismatic and he was full of love. He was what I called a warrior, we just lived life to the full.”

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Joshua attended the St Piers Young Epilepsy school, going home at weekends and holidays, and also enjoyed taking part in extra-curricular activities with other young people. He was part of an SEN choir, Just So Singers, and attended the Boys Brigade.

Joshua contracted Covid-19 in February and then, following a hospital admission and time spent in intensive care, Joshua was put into an induced coma. Helen says that Joshua fought hard, but sadly died at the hospice a few weeks later.

Joshua’s committal and burial took place on May 11 at St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Tangley, and a celebration of his life will be held at the United Reform Church in Woking on June 26.

One of Joshua’s teachers at St Piers School described him as having “a big heart” and being “a role model to his peers.”

“He humbled and enlightened me,” he said.

Helen and her family are raising funds for Young Epilepsy and Shooting Stars Hospice, where he spent time for respite care and the final days of his life, in memory of Joshua.

“We hadn’t really appreciated how amazing they are for end of life care,” said Helen. “They have some really beautiful people who are so gentle, and parents are a part of the decision-making.

“We had giggles and laughs on that last day. We had so many people praying for us. It was like God was in the room.”

To make a donation to the charities in memory of Joshua, visit: joshuaturtle.muchloved.com.

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