Soham man to lead workshop on taking control of epilepsy

Karl Bates

Karl Bates - Credit: Archant

Soham man Karl Bates will be a guest speaker at a conference being held to help people with epilepsy take control of their condition.

Mr Bates, a freelance football commentator for BBC radio, will be leading a workshop taking place on Saturday in Ely Cathedral conference centre entitled Seize Control.

The event is one of several taking place across the country designed to raise awareness of available treatments for epilepsy beyond medication.

Speakers include consultants from Addenbrooke’s, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Barberry, as well as Derbyshire Children’s at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Mr Bates, who also works as a voiceover artist for Soccer AM on Sky Sports, was diagnosed with epilepsy 15 years ago.

He said: “I was a very confused and scared 23-year-old. I woke up in hospital having had a tonic-clonic seizure, but at first we weren’t 100% what it was. I’d been very busy and we thought it could have been a one-off, but then a year later I had another seizure. Epilepsy would make me very calendar-orientated. I’d get to eleven months between seizures – just weeks away from getting my driving licence back - and then have another one and be back to where I started. I ended up losing my licence for five years, which was tough as public transport is not very frequent in the area.”

“There are no triggers for my seizures at all. I get no auras either. I take sodium valproate and my longest gap between seizures has been seven and a half years. By then, I really thought I was out of the woods and it might be time to knock the medication on the head – then I had another seizure.”

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It is estimated that there are about 6,000 people with epilepsy in Cambridgeshire.

Tickets for the event cost £10 - £8 members, £6 concessions, £4 member concessions. To book, go to or contact Will Butterworth on 07770 837 970.