Making Margaret Proud

Oct 10, 2022
 Lesley Drake

Mum of two, Lesley Drake completed a running challenge in memory of her mother-in-law and to give back to the Coleraine M.S. branch who provided so much support.

A dental nurse from Boyd and Logue in Coleraine recently completed a solo charity run in memory of her late mother-in-law.

Lesley Drake had pledged to run 50 miles during the month of August to raise valuable funds for the Coleraine branch of Multiple Sclerosis and she completed it in style, raising over £1200 for the charity.

Lesley, who lives with husband Adrian and their children Archie (7) and Darren (14) decided to set herself the challenge as a way to ‘give back’ to the group who had helped Margaret so much.

“Margaret suffered from M.S. for many years and didn’t leave the house very much but her favourite day of the week was a Thursday night when she got to go to the M.S. group”, explained Lesley.

“The group was amazing and provided transport, picking her up and dropping her home again. Her favourite thing at the group was bingo and many a story I heard from her about the fun and shenanigans that went on. They would also take them to the Lodge Hotel for dinner and hold quiz nights which she enjoyed. The group was Margaret’s lifeline to the outside world and it kept her going from week to week.

“Eventually Margaret became bed bound after a stay in hospital a few years ago and sadly she could no longer go to the group. Mind you that didn’t stop her wanting to be there.

“Many a Thursday she would tell Adrian to get a taxi ordered, she was going to the group regardless of whether she could get out of bed or not.”

Despite her illness, Margaret never lost her sense of humour, something the family remember with such fondness.

“Margaret never complained about her illness,” continued Lesley. “She always had a great outlook on life with a sense of humour second to none. When she passed away we were all devastated.

“On hearing the news, the ladies from the M.S. Society were the first group to visit and pay their respects. They told us so many stories about Margaret and the things she would get up to at the group. She definitely was the life and soul of the party!”

This challenge wasn’t Lesley's first. She had previously set herself a running challenge to raise money for a local boy Liam McCallum back in 2017 when he was struck down by a car.

“I completed 40 miles for the first challenge so I decided to add an extra 10 miles for this one,” said the mum of two.

“I wanted to do something for the M.S. group in Coleraine because they did so much for Margaret and it was just my way of giving back and saying thank you for what they did for my lovely mother-in-law.”

Lesley completed her runs in different locations posting photos as she went to keep her followers up to speed with her progress although it wasn’t all plain sailing.

“I thoroughly enjoy running and I completed my runs across our beautiful north coast countryside, everywhere from Rathlin to Bushmills and Donegal when we were on holiday.

“There are times when it’s been tough but my husband Adrian and two boys Darren and Archie are always there with words of encouragement and support to keep me going. One of my best and closest friends Tori messaged me every day before I went out to spur me on telling me ‘you’ve got this Les’. I’m not sure I would have been as positive and could have completed the challenge without them - they are amazing.”

Although she has completed her 50 miles, donations are still rolling in for Lesley, something she appreciates so much.

“The generosity from the public has been overwhelming. From the very beginning of the challenge and even now, donations have been flooding in. We live in difficult times at present and the cost of living is so high, yet so many people have been so kind in donating to the cause.

The support has blown me away and I am so thankful and I would like to thank each and every person from the bottom of my heart.”

Having completed her challenge the thoughts of her mother-in law are to the foremost in the minds of Lesley and the family.

“Margaret, mum, granny, you are missed more than you will ever know. You are in our thoughts every day and we will treasure the memories we have of you forever.

“I hope I’ve done you proud and your very precious M.S. group proud and raised some awareness and recognition for them and the work they do because they deserve it.”

I think we can all agree Lesley certainly did Margaret and her family proud.

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