Illness forces Emily to quit town council
The 30-year-old artist mum was the youngest person on the town council when she reluctantly handed in her resignation last week.
Faced with suffering daily seizures which left her exhausted, she decided she had no choice but to stand down.
Emily said: "It was a very difficult decision for me. I wanted to help the parents and children and disabled people, but it was so frustrating not being able to fit in with the timing of the council meetings.
"I am quite passionate about supporting people in the community and representing them and it became so frustrating not being able to do so."
Emily has suffered from epilepsy since she was 10 years old, but over the last two years the nature of her illness has changed — and drugs prescribed for her either left her 'hyper' and nervous or turned her into a depressive.
She said: "My epilepsy has changed. It never used to be like this. I used to have a few complex partial seizures a month. Sometimes now I am having three or four a week. I am having one or two simple partial seizures a day."
She said a simple partial seizure leave her staring into space for a few minutes while a complex partial seizure leaves her disorientated without a grasp on reality which can last for up to 30 minutes. All the seizures leave her exhausted.
Emily, who lives with her husband Steve and two children Misha, eight, and Poppy, four, in Culverdale, first won a seat on Totnes Town Council in November 2002.
But three years later she and husband Steve, who was also a town councillor, both resigned in protest over the way the council was being run.
Then two years later they both stood again in the 2007 May elections and Emily pipped her own husband at the post by just one vote to win back her seat.
Emily and Steve invented the board game Buddhawheel, a game based on the Buddhist wheel of life involving players working their way up the reincarnation ladder, which has sold around the country and abroad.
Emily is a Bhuddist and said her meditation has helped her cope with her epilepsy.
"I am not freaked out by what is happening where I used to be before I had experience with meditation," she said.
Totnes Town Council is now faced with advertising the vacant seat left by Emily's resignation.
If enough local electors demand there is a by-election the council will be forced to hold one.
If that does not happen the town councillors will have the option of co-opting a new councillor.