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Nicola’s story


Nicola’s story: her mother’s words

I am Jayne Packard, mother of Nicola who suffers from epilepsy. We live in Milford Haven in West Wales and as you are aware we have a problem.

Nicola suffers from epilepsy and has since she was six months old. She was on medication in the beginning but this was found to make her seizures worse and therefore she was taken off it. In 1999 we had to move from our home after an ORANGE Telecommunications mast was placed 70 metres from our front door. Nicola’s seizures had been relatively well controlled and with the arrival of this mast so did a worsening of her seizures. I’m not speaking of one or two extra seizures but actually to the extent of six, to ten seizures per day, some days she had as many as fifty.

Orange and the NRPB refused to acknowledge a connection or indeed to admit there was a problem. One day she had no seizures, I immediately felt something was not right and asked my husband to call ORANGE and enquire about a loss of signal in our area. We were informed that the transmitter was ‘having a few problems’ and had been ‘switched off’. Was this a coincidence? I did question that it was maybe a co-incidence until I went to France on a holiday for a week and Nicola had no seizures, returned home, and started back into the daily pattern of seizures again.

Over time we moved to our present location which does not have a transmitter close by. Nicola’s seizures were well controlled, one or two per month and still on no medication. The neurologists were happy with the way she was medicine free and how well she was coping.

I should explain here about Nicola in more detail. She is twelve years old and suffers from epilepsy. Her epilepsy has been categorised as Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. She has severe learning difficulties and cannot communicate other than by sign language and a few sounds that she makes. She is wheelchair-bound and suffers from scoliosis. She was attending a special school in Haverfordwest- which is seven miles from our home and coping really well and totally loving every day she spent there. She was receiving one-to-one teaching and was improving albeit slowly. She loved school and I feel it was an important part of her life as not only was she receiving education but she was interacting with other children on her level.

Everything was fine until Friday May 13th this year when Dyfed Powys Police allowed mm02 airwave to place a TETRA transmitter on top of their building which is less than 1000 metres from Nicola’s school. Since that day Nicola’s fits (while at school) were terrible. She had many that evening which immediately alerted me. I withdrew her from school, absolutely terrified of what it was doing to my child.

On July 22nd she went back to school on a day trip. She would only be at the school for a very short while in the morning and then I would collect her at night from the bus as she returned to school. The reality is that Nicola went to school (she had no seizures in the two months she had not attended school) she had a seizure within ten minutes of being at school and then went on the trip. She was fine all day on the trip but as the school transport returned into the school playground and within 1000 metres of the mast she suffered a massive seizure. We took her home, she was ill all night and for the two days following this. I refused to send her back to school and requested home tuition be granted for my child. It was refused.

I approached a solicitor of education law who decided we would instruct proceedings against the local education authority for their lack of concern for Nicola’s education. This was done, the wheels were in motion. A few heated letters followed between my solicitor and the education authority. They were not going to allow Nicola to receive tuition at home because there was ‘no conclusive proof or evidence’ that the TETRA equipment harms anyone. I felt like banging my head against a brick wall. Nicola was at home, she was getting four hours a week of home support that the teacher had placed at home for her but this wasn’t enough.

I agonised long and hard over my decision to withdraw my daughter from school and actually questioned my motives. Had I read too much about the harm from TETRA, had I made the wrong decision, had my judgement been clouded? Had I given enough thought to the implications being away from school would have on my child. I decided that I would send her back to school to ‘prove to myself’ that there was an effect on her epilepsy. I have never felt that I was a bad mother but that day I did. I sent her to school and she was OK. I thought: my goodness I have been wrong, this isn’t affecting her at all, but that evening the seizures started. She had seven in a short space of time. I felt terrible, that I had used my own child as a guinea pig, the very thing I have accused memo of doing. The next day she was fine, I decided to send her back to see if it would happen again, this about broke my heart, that I had to expose Nicola to this just to prove there is a problem. She went to school, by lunch time the school headmistress was on the phone. Nicola had some seizures. I rushed to get her, and took her home. She was ill for two days afterwards. Since then, this was five weeks ago, we have had no more seizures. I will never again expose my child to that TETRA mast opposite her school. I cannot rest until it is gone.

My solicitor, Mike Charles of Sinclair’s Solicitors in Cardiff, requested a doctor’s report be made. A Neurological Psychologist wrote one stating that in his opinion, as Nicola has brain damage, TETRA mast emissions could be harming her. It seems that this was enough for the education department who have since given Nicola home tuition but not enough for the police or mm02 who have once again used their line which sounds a bit like a broken record, ‘there is no conclusive evidence linking epilepsy and TETRA masts’. How much more proof do they need? Will it take a death to realise there is a problem?

I really don’t know how these people can sleep at night. By these people I mean the Industry as a whole and the Government who back it. Someone needs to make them realise that there is a problem and that pulling the wool over their own eyes won’t work for the rest of the population of the UK or indeed the world.


 Tetrawatch researched and prepared this paper on EMR and epilepsy which may explain why this happens. Certainly it is not good enough to walk away on the grounds of ‘scientific consensus’ (mainly WHO) being against EMR at these levels having any non-thermal biological effects.

 See also Phil and Nancy’s story

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unsightly but harmless? Unsightly but harmless? Is that all there is to be concerned about? 50,000 mobile masts in the UK may be more than we can take. And TETRA has special concerns of its own.

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