A Ballynure woman has raised £1082 for Marie Curie in memory of her mother’s best friend who died from the disease.
Paula McMaster recently ran her first marathon, the 26.2 mile Manchester marathon, in honour of Larne woman Jean Matthews who passed away last May.
As the anniversary of Jean’s death approached, Paula, a member of County Antrim Harriers, decided to put her best foot forward and participated in the event on April 18.
She told The Times: “I was very close to Jean as she was my mum Marlene’s best friend.
“I had known her when I was growing up, she was part of my life like a close family member.
“My mum and Jean were like sisters, we would have seen her three times a week and she was on the phone every day.
“When she passed away it was a big shock and it left a big gap in our lives.”
Despite becoming involved in running relatively recently, Paula’s determination to raise money for Marie Curie in Jean’s memory gave her the boost she needed to complete her marathon challenge.
She continued: “I only started running with County Antrim Harriers 14 months ago, and they had always said to me that I could do a marathon.
“Jean’s family gave me a lot of money for Marie Curie, which spurred me on.
“My mum thought it was a great idea and she and my collegaues at Antrim Hospital, where I work as a pharmacy technician, donated a lot of money.”
During the most difficult section of the race, Paula says that it was thoughts of Jean which helped her to stay the course.
“I thought of her during the last part of the race and that gave me a goal as I was doing it for charity in her name,” she recalled.
Paula says she is still close to Jean’s family, and would like to thank Jean’s husband David, son Simon and daughter-in-law Moya for their donations and support.
She also wishes to thank her mum Marlene and the friends and staff at Antrim Hospital for their support, and is planning more furndraising efforts in the future.
She stated: “I had thought I would only life around £600 or £700 but to raise £1082 was amazing.
“We are coming up to the first anniversary of Jean’s death at the end of May and I feel this is a good way to honour her.”