Lynn Gilderdale – who had been bedridden since being diagnosed with ME 16 years ago – died at her home in Stonegate, East Sussex, last Wednesday. Her mother Kay has now been arrested on suspicion of her daughter's murder and released on bail until March 6.
Thirty-one-year-old Lynn, whose image as the face of ME has been displayed on the 25% ME Group's website for some years, has according to one news report today been unable to speak since August 1992 and was able to communicate only in sign language.
Lynn fell ill after receiving a BCG vaccination for TB when she was 14-years-old. She then went on to have bronchitis, tonsillitis and glandular fever, before being diagnosed with ME. The condition left her confined to her bed for the last a6 years, apart from when she needed hospital treatment.
A tribute to Lynn was released through the police yesterday. In it, the family said: ‘Lynn was young, beautiful, loving and caring.
‘At the age of 14 years she was struck down by ME – an illness greatly misunderstood – and as a result, suffered the stigma attached to this dreadful illness.
‘She fought long and hard for 17 years with immense bravery, enduring constant pain and sickness.
‘Every system of her body was affected. She required 24 hour care that was provided by her totally dedicated mother, with continuous support from Lynn's father.
‘Lynn suffered many hospital admissions, sometimes lasting several months, for life-threatening conditions.
‘Prior to her illness, which left her paralysed, unable to speak, eat or drink and until recently, no memory, she was an active healthy teenager full of life's dreams.
‘She enjoyed sailing, swimming, cycling and was an accomplished musician.
‘Her family praise and admire Lynn for her courage, which she showed to the end.
‘She was a much-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter who despite her illness always gave love and support to others.
‘In life Lynn strove to help the medical profession improve their insight into M.E. which affects thousands of people, in varying degrees of severity.
‘Her dedicated mother, supported by Lynn's family, has pledged to achieve her ultimate goal – for better understanding and recognition of this life destroying illness."
The investigation into her death is bring led by Chief Inspector Andy Griffiths, from Sussex Police's major crime branch. Rother police commander, Chief Inspector Heather Keating, is reported as saying: “This is a very tragic incident, but we are not looking for anyone else in connection with it.”
Lynn had been a member of The ME Association for several years. "We're shocked at Lynn's passing, and express our sympathy for all the family", a spokesman said today.