Daughter of Neston woman killed by shark pledges to continue her legacy

Published date: 27 April 2017 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A WOMAN is to attempt her first gruelling triathlon to continue the legacy of her inspirational mother, who tragically died after being attacked by a shark in Western Australia last year.

Doreen Collyer, 60, a former nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital and lecturer at the University of Chester, from Neston, had emigrated to Perth, Australia, five years earlier with husband David to spend more time with their grand-daughter.

Sarah Foo-Ryland was devastated by the loss of her mother in June

She has now embarked on an emotional mission to support a nursing scholarship in her mother’s memory at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, where she worked as a lead lecturer.

Sarah, 36, is preparing to complete an ‘Ironman 70.3’ triathlon challenge, which entails a 1.9km swim followed by a 90km bike ride and a 21km run to the finish line, to raise enough money to make sure the scholarship runs for an additional two years or even longer. It will be Sarah’s first triathlon.

The scholarship is particularly poignant for Sarah as one of her earliest memories of her mother was when she embarked on a career as a nurse.

Starting with no O-levels or qualifications and two young children, Doreen ultimately became a senior lecturer in nursing.

Sarah, who lives in Portugal where she runs a coaching and training company called Life Live with  wife Amanda, said: “My overall message is to explain how important the scholarship is to me, it was a lifeline in a time when life was so very hard. My mum and her hard work, courage and determination is my inspiration, she is and always will be my hero. I miss her  terribly.

“I didn’t realise it at the age of three sitting in those classrooms with her but as I grew I realised how incredible she was to achieve so much from a mum with two young children to a senior lecturer about to start her doctorate.

“As I said when I spoke at her funeral she was so inspiring not just to us family and close friends but to thousands of others, only in losing this have I been able to understand the depth of her kindness, compassion and love. 

“Let’s not forget that she was a bit feisty, but without this she would not have excelled as both a practitioner and a mother, sister, wife and friend. 

“She has been for many years now and will continue to be my motivation and my hero.” 

Sarah remembers the moment last June when she heard the news about what had happened to her mother.

She said: “Amanda and I, along with  two friends, were on a charity bike ride from Courchevel to Tadcaster (1,000 miles in 10 days) to raise money for a number of charities, so fundraising is not a new thing. 

“It was the morning of the last day when I received the phone call. It is impossible to describe those moments, I don’t really remember them clearly but we had to get from the UK to Perth as quickly as possible. You can’t imagine the sheer devastation, shock and pain.” 

During this time of  grief, Sarah remembers being comforted by the scholarship that was immediately set up in her mother’s name.

Sarah added: “Those first few days are a blur but what did stand out for me was that a wonderful ex-student of mum’s Graham Last was so devastated by her loss that he set up a Go Fund Me Page, to raise money for a scholarship in Mum’s name. A scholarship of $3,000 is awarded each year to a nursing student to help with the cost of their education.

“The reason I am doing such a terrifically hard event is because I believe in the scholarship, I don’t expect people to give up their hard earned money unless I earn it, I am committed to continue Mum’s legacy.

“So many students have  missed out on her wisdom and experience by her being absent. So if we can help change even a few people’s lives by helping to give them an opportunity, not only to change their own life but the hundreds of lives they will influence by becoming a nurse, more specifically a children’s nurse. 

“So it has become my mission to help with this. $6,000 will ensure the scholarship runs for an additional two years.” 

Sarah has been overwhelmed by the support from all over the world for the campaign, so much so  she now hopes to raise enough money to keep the scholarship active for years and years to come.

She said:  “We knew our mum, sister, wife and friend was amazing, I had not realised the impact and influence she had on so very many people. 

“At first it was tremendously hard to take it all in but since I have started on this journey and set up the Facebook page to help share my story and raise awareness for the cause.

“It has been truly incredible reading the stories people have posted of their memories and thoughts of mum. I guess it’s the reason I am doing this. She was incredible and deserves something incredible to continue her legacy.

“We are doing so well and now some of my friends who are running the Liverpool half marathon with me have asked to become part of the ‘A Daughter’s Pride’ team. I feel honoured. 

To find out more about how to support the campaign visit the ‘A Daughter’s Pride’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/adaughterspride 

Visit Sarah’s fundraising page at give.everydayhero.com/au/a-daughter-s-pride

  • See full story in the Chester Leader

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