Regatta fundraises for Cancer Focus in memory of Larne’s Esme Marie

Marie Foy (left) from Cancer Focus Northern Ireland accepts the sum of �1,047 from East Coast Athletic Club members, Cate Devine, Justin Maxwell and Linzi Conway who were part of a 15 strong team who took part in the charity`s Dragon Boat race on the River Lagan in memory of Cate`s sister, Esme-Marie McManus. INLT 32-012-PSB
Marie Foy (left) from Cancer Focus Northern Ireland accepts the sum of �1,047 from East Coast Athletic Club members, Cate Devine, Justin Maxwell and Linzi Conway who were part of a 15 strong team who took part in the charity`s Dragon Boat race on the River Lagan in memory of Cate`s sister, Esme-Marie McManus. INLT 32-012-PSB

The family of a Larne woman who passed from a brain tumour have thanked East Coast Athletics members for raising £1,047 in her name.

Popular hairdresser Esme Marie McManus was just 28 when she passed away from the disease 14 years ago.

Since then, her family have raised £21,828 in her memory for Cancer Focus, after setting up the Esme Marie McManus Forget Me Not Fund.

Esme’s sister Cate Devine is a member of East Coast Athletics, and earlier this summer 14 members of the club took part in a regatta to fundraise in Esme’s name.

The Lagan Dragons team, which hosted the event, is composed of cancer survivors, and proceeds from the regatta went to Cancer Focus.

Cate told the Times “Esme’s anniversary is coming up on August 21 and it will be 14 years since she died.

“I’m really touched that people still remember her and want to honour her memory.

“Esme was a hairdresser in Larne and she worked for the salon Hair We Are. She was very well known and had lots of friends and colleagues, that’s why we have been able to raise so much in her name.”

Since launching their fundraising efforts on the 10th anniversary of Esme’s death at Larne Half Marathon, the Devine family have raised almost £22,000 in her name.

Cate says that the regatta proved to be “really enjoyable” for all those involved, including Esme’s close friends Joanna McIlroy and Jacqueline McLoughlin.

“We were rowing against people who could row while some of us had never even been in a canoe before,” she laughed.

“The Lagan Dragons are fighting breast cancer and this is part of them getting back to health.

“It was an amazing day and we had fun while raising money in a practical way.

“Esme would have been laughing at me trying to get in the boat, she lived life to the full and had fun.”

Cate would like to express her thanks to the East Coast Athletics members who took part in the event.

East Coast Athletics member Linzi Conway, who organised the members’ participation, said: “We wanted to show our support for Cate and her family, as well as all the local women who are going through treatment for breast cancer. We’d like to thank everyone who sponsored us or helped in anyway. We really enjoyed the challenge of doing something different, and for such a good cause too.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/CateJacquiJo-LaganDragons before October.