Colin to raise funds in memory of his mum

RATHFRILAND man Colin Finley will take on the ambitious challenge of canoeing from Spelga Dam to Castlerock in Co. Antrim to raise funds for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, in memory his mother who lived with the condition.

The four day Source-to-Sea challenge will take place from Sunday June 10 to Wednesday June 13 which coincides with Diabetes Week. Colin will be joined by his best friend George Dennison and his brother David and friend Steve; both of whom will travel from Dubai to participate in the challenge.

Also taking part in the challenge is Oisin Hallissey, Head of Paddlesport at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre.

Colin was inspired to undertake this ambitious project and raise money for Diabetes UK NI following the death of his mother last March. She and several other members of the family were affected by diabetes.

It was when Colin was clearing out the family home and found a primary school notebook containing a drawing and some text detailing the route of the Bann from the Mourne Mountains to the Atlantic that 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 said, “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 from Tollymore 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.”

If you would like to find out more about the Source-to-Sea challenge or make a donation, you can visit Colin’s Justgiving page at