Sophy Layzell was one of the contributing authors to “100 Ways to Write A Book” by Alex Pearl, to which my author husband Peter Turnham also contributed.
We recently heard the sad news that Sophy died just over a week ago. I knew Sophy as a child when I was secretary/pa to her adoptive father, the architect and designer Sir Anthony Denny, and my daughter attended Rendcomb College in Gloucestershire at the same time as Sophy.
Sophy’s entry in the “100 Ways to Write A Book” was an interview by Alex Pearl about her books, including “Invisible Thread”.
Sophy lost her daughter Jemima at the age of 13, some ten years ago. Jemima had begun keeping a diary when she was just four years old, making simple entries as well as secret codes where she wrote backwards. Her diary writing was extraordinary in integrity and maturity, and was published after her death, entitled “The Draft” – the money raised was used to start the Jemima Layzell Trust, which helps children with Acquired Brain Injury and campaigns for organ transplant and awareness.
The Trust raises money for those with limited resources of their own, providing funding for much-needed tools to enable their children to have the best chance of a quick, efficient, and effective recovery. It also encourages conversation around organ transplants. They share experiences wherever they can as the power of ‘the gift of life’ is strong and lives on, being the embodiment of hope in dark and devastating times. Jemima herself donated her major organs, corneas, and stem cells, helping to change the lives of more than 11 people. The Trust believes that it is vital they have funds readily available to ensure that funding requests can be answered quickly – when a child is admitted to hospital, parents need to know that the help is there should they need it. There is no time for individual fundraising.
Tragically, Sophy had also lost her husband Harvey in April this yea; she is survived by her younger daughter. I have been asked to help raise awareness of the Trust, so that this wonderful organisation may live on in memory of both Jemima and Sophy.
Thank you, writing.ie, for giving me the opportunity to do so.
Carol Turnham 6.10.2022
“We all have our stories to tell. This is Jemima’s first and last and because of that, so important to all of us who read it now. This is her life.” Michael Morpurgo, Patron, the Jemima Layzell Trust.