The Encephalitis Society descended on the House of Lords to start the countdown to World Encephalitis Day 2019 - and launch #BrainWalk, our award-winning smartphone App.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, a Vice President of the Encephalitis Society, was our host for the event on Tuesday, January 15, which also welcomed other members of the House of Lords, including Lord Roy Kennedy of Southwark, who has become a great supporter of the Encephalitis Society, Kevin Hollinrake, the MP of Thirsk and Malton, winners from our Accumulator Challenge competition and members of Team Encephalitis, our volunteer scheme.

Dr Ava Easton, our Chief Executive, said:

We are very lucky to have a supporter in Anne who has been very gracious in her support of the Encephalitis Society and the work we do. It is very special to hold the launch of our World Encephalitis Day campaign in such a historic building and wonderful for our supporters to be able to join us in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime visit.

The morning was an opportunity for us to talk to members of the House of Lords about encephalitis and the work we do as well as raise the profile of World Encephalitis Day.

House of Lords 2019

Click on the photo to see more images from the House of Lords

We also handed out awards to the winners of our Accumulator Challenge - a month-long charity competition which raised over £10,000 for the Encephalitis Society.

The winners included:

Best Team Name Award - Innovation Domination, Irwin Mitchell

We had many innovative team names,  and you’d all put lots of thought into your team names. But our panel of distinguished judges chose Innovation Domination as the Best Team name as it was imaginative, on brand and great for us to steal.

Community Involvement Award – Jenna Wheatley

Jenna and her family live in Dubai and when they found out about the Accumulator Challenge, they wanted to get involved  to raise funds and awareness within their community. Jenna and her family, including daughter Ella baked buns to sell, held raffles, walked dogs and ella undertook a mini mudder as part of their Accumulator Challenge, raising £1786.  We are all super proud of the family and  thankful that Jenna is represented by her dad John and sister Lucie . Please come forward to receive Jenna’s award.

Highly Commended - The Distance, our #BrainWalk app developers, for their Music Quiz

Most Creative and Collaborative Concept AwardBolt Burdon Kemp

This was a really difficult category to judge. You walked, ran, baked, sold, waxed legs, played bingo, traded up but the one that stood out for us was a the worlds biggest pub quiz organised by the team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. This was a whole firm effort and massively contributed to the £581.07 raised by Bolt Burdon Kemp we are very grateful to you.

Highly commended - Leigh Day and their Glee Trolley

Inspirational Team AwardAccess Legal Solicitors

Access Legal embraced the challenge wholeheartedly, right across the team who gave up their lunch hours for a whole week to undertake a huge cycling challenge. Their mixed ability team (their words!) took turns and sharing the load in true team style, raising £917.75. 

Highly Commended - Clarke Willmott whose communication throughout the challenge was fabulous and an inspiration to all of us. They raised £208.29.

Best Team Leader Award - Holly Gwilliams, Irwin Mitchell, Leeds

Holly has been a tremendous support to both the Encephalitis Society and her colleagues throughout the challenge as she coordinates the challenge in her firm across three different sites. Nothing has been too much trouble and Holly has demonstrated her communication skills, shown how she has motivated her team to achieve more and shown a passion for the Encephalitis Society that is admirable. She’s been a true team leader and is a deserved winner.

Highly Commended - Archana Ramesh, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford.

Innovative Team Award - The Walton Centre, Liverpool.

LBIG Encephacyclists showed creativity, ingenuity and physical grit and their efforts raised a huge £1470.78.

Finally, there was a special award for James Pratt who was presented with the Long Standing Supporter Award for his dedication to the Encephalitis Society and raising awareness of encephalitis.

Over the course of 12 years, James and his family and friends have raised nearly £40,000 through events such as quizzes and skydiving, trekking through Transylvania and even cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats.

James was joined by his proud family at the House of Lords, including one uncle who had travelled over from the USA especially for the occasion.