Master_brand_RGBNat has just become the first celebrity ambassador for The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE). As you know Nat is very proud to be supporting this charity. I'm thrilled that they agreed to co-operate with Nat's site starting with an interview Nat gave for NCYPE.

If you'd like to get more info on the charity or the condition itself, please feel free to visit their site to learn more, also to get the latest updates on events etc. The NCYPE is also on Facebook and is currently working on a Twitter channel to communicate directly with supporters.

NCYPE's magazine VOICE asked him a few questions…
How does it feel to become NCYPE’s first celebrity ambassador?
It’s a huge privilege to be asked. I was surprised and honoured to be honest. I can’t claim to be any sort of expert on epilepsy, but what I have learnt from my work so far with NCYPE has taught me a great deal and been extraordinarily emotive. I was quite shocked to learn that over 60,000 children have epilepsy in the UK and that it can affect anyone at anytime. It seems to be something that is ‘swept under the carpet’ in wider society and I am delighted to be helping bring it to the fore.

Nat with Karen Deacon
(Director of Health and Social
Care at the NCYPE).
Copyright NCYPE

You recently visited NCYPE – was it what you expected?
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was amazed by the students and the extremely high level of care they receive at NCYPE. I was also amazed by the new Neville Centre, the technology available is astounding – I was blown away by it.

What was your knowledge of epilepsy before and has your awareness of epilepsy been raised by your visit?
I thought I knew what epilepsy was, but since visiting NCYPE I realised that I knew nothing! So yes - my awareness has been very much raised, which is great.

What do you think of the Better Futures Campaign message?
It’s plain that the Better Futures Campaign is crucial to raising awareness of epilepsy issues nationwide. The good it could do in terms of improving health and education services would be fantastic.

Do you think more can be done in schools to combat the stigma attached to children with epilepsy?
Absolutely, school can be very hard on some children and working with schools is essential in helping them to get the most they can from their education. Inclusion and training are a must in raising understanding, both in staff and pupils.

Othello famously suffers from the ‘Falling Sickness’ but epilepsy is usually only featured in medical dramas on television – do you think soap characters should be featured coping with conditions such as epilepsy?
Good question! Actually, I played Cassio in the film version of Othello which starred Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. Although it is taken out in some productions, we kept the falling sickness scene in and it worked very well.  It’s interesting to think that epilepsy was relevant to society then, otherwise Shakespeare would not have included it in the play. I think inclusion is a big issue in modern media and is being considered more and more.

What’s coming up for you this summer?
I am really enjoying doing the TV Book Club on channel 4 at the moment, it’s great fun being on the panel, talking to the authors and discovering other people’s views on the books themselves. It’s going to be quite an exciting year as I’ve also got two films coming out this year, one called ‘Malice In Wonderland’ in which I play both the King and Queen of Hearts as a gay gangster and another called ‘The Domino Effect’ in which I play a tramp – two extremely varied roles!

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