Walk in memory of former Scout leader

Boots employees on the sponsored walk.
Boots employees on the sponsored walk.

The family of local Scout leader Colin Cooke led a sponsored walk in his memory through Moira last Thursday to raise money for research into the disease that killed him.

The walk, organised by Colin’s wife Susan, took place on what would have been Colin’s 46th birthday and attracted over 100 people including the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Edwin Poots MLA.

The aim was to raise £5,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) from the walk and other fundraising activities.

Colin was 45 when he passed away in February, 11 weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Having co-founded and led First Moira Scouts for 18 years, as well as working full-time as a pharmacy assistant in Boots in Moira, Colin was very well known and respected in the communities of Lurgan, where he grew up, Moira, and Dollingstown, where he lived with Susan and their two sons Adam (19) and Aaron (3).

Susan, a nurse at Four Seasons Healthcare, first met Colin at Hill Street Church youth club and the pair got engaged when she was 16 and he was 19. They married in 1991 and were just six days short of the 22nd wedding anniversary when Colin died.

“My son Adam has been a massive support to me in the months since Colin’s death,” said Susan.

“And he’s also just achieved a Distinction in the first year of his HND in Applied Biology, despite all the upset of the past few months. Colin would have been so proud of him.”

A very fit and active man, Colin loved the outdoor life, whether on caravanning holidays with the family, on camp with the Scouts or shooting at his archery club. On November 26, 2012, the couple were given the shocking news that Colin had a tumour on his pancreas which was already inoperable.

Colin died on February 10, 2013 only 11 weeks after that diagnosis.

“We had so little time between Colin’s diagnosis and death - it was very hard to accept that there was no treatment and also no way of finding out earlier that he had pancreatic cancer,” said Susan.

“That’s why we as a family want to raise money for PCRF as they fund researchers looking for an early diagnosis tool and hopefully a cure for this terrible disease.”

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers. It’s a highly aggressive disease and only three in every 100 people diagnosed will live beyond five years. This survival rate has not improved in forty years.

Susan is very grateful for the way in which the local community has pulled together to support the fundraising activities. The total raised currently stands at £5,960 with further sponsor money still to be returned.

If you would like to support fundraising in aid of PCRF, please contact Susan at susancooke01@gmail.com

If you would like to support the family’s fundraising activities, please go to www.justgiving.com/Sandra-Cooke

You can now also donate by text. Simply send the code CCWS48, followed by your amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10), to 70070, eg CCWS48 £5.