Coleraine lads to take on Source to Sea challenge

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A GROUP of Coleraine men are set to take on a huge challenge later this month to raise money for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.

Colin Finley (PICTURED), his best friend George Dennison, his brother David and friend Steve; both of whom will travel from Dubai, will be canoeing from Spelga Dam to Castlerock. The trio are all former Coleraine Inst pupils.

The five day Source-to-Sea challenge will take place during Diabetes Week from 9 to 13 June.

The adventurers will also be joined by Oisin Hallissey, Head of Paddlesport at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre.

Colin, who now lives in Rathfriland, was inspired to undertake this ambitious project and raise money for Diabetes UK NI following the death of his mother, May Finley, last March.

She and several other members of the family were affected by diabetes and it was when Colin was clearing out the family home that he found a primary school notebook containing a drawing and some text detailing the route of the Bann from the Mourne Mountains to the Atlantic and the idea was born.

An active father of two, Colin has competed at World and European level on downhill mountain bikes. He is also a part-time cycling event organiser and mountain biker as well as a semi-retired art installer.

Colin explained: “We’re all really looking forward to the big challenge.

“None of us have ever taken on anything of this scale before-especially in a canoe so I’m not quite sure what we’re letting ourselves in for.

“My background is in cycling and none of the other guys have canoed such a distance so we’re delighted to have Oisin Hallisey on board- his experience and expertise will be vital. The training has been tough, especially the upper body strength that’s needed, but it will all be worth it when we reach Castlerock on the final day.”

Marina Hoey, National Fundraising Manager for Diabetes UK NI said “I’d like to wish Colin and the rest of the crew the best of luck with their journey up the Bann. Months of careful planning and training have gone into this event and the whole team are really dedicated to completing the task and raising vital funds for people in Northern Ireland living with diabetes.”