Winners’ emotional trip to late daughter’s workplace

The charity's Liz Gallacher (centre)  with Lesley and Ewan at Boclair House party. Inset Photo: Carlo Paloni
The charity's Liz Gallacher (centre) with Lesley and Ewan at Boclair House party. Inset Photo: Carlo Paloni

A Kirkintilloch couple made an emotional trip back to their beloved late daughter’s 
workplace after winning a Herald competition.

Lesley and Ewan Shannon were chosen at random from more than 100 entries to win two tickets to a Great Gatsby party, courtesy of luxury Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden.

The evening raised more than £4,000 for Glasgow-based charity Cure Crohn’s Colitis, which gives 100 per cent of all donations to 
medical research.

Ironically, Lesley and Ewan’s daughter Laura worked in reception in the 125-year-old 
Tudor Gothic house when it was the headquarters of East Dunbartonshire Council.

Sadly, Laura passed away from bowel cancer in 2013 at the tragically young age of 31 and just 29 days after she wed her childhood sweetheart Alan Connelly.

Lesley said: “I am glad they kept this beautiful building, it is a stunning hotel.”

Since Laura died, the couple have been tirelessly raising funds and awareness of bowel cancer, particularly in younger people. Laura had complained to doctors of pains for more than two years but by the time proper tests were done she was found to have stage IV bowel cancer which had spread to her liver.

Lesley said: “Doctors kept saying Laura was too young to have bowel cancer.

“Do not take no for an answer - if you feel something is wrong, get a second opinion. Unfortunately for Laura this was too late.”

The former Kirkintilloch High pupil was eventually diagnosed with bowel cancer on July 3, 2012 and underwent a gruelling chemotherapy regime at the Beatson Hospital.

Sadly, the cancer then spread to her lungs and liver.

Her heartbroken mum said: “Laura tried to hide the pain she suffered day in and day out but those closest to her know what she went through.”

Laura was initially given less than six months to live but valiantly fought on and married Alan on March 1, 2013 in a fairytale wedding at Glenskirlie Castle in Bonnybridge.

The young bride passed away less than a month later.

Lesley said: “We were so proud of our special girl and she will never be forgotten. People assume only people over 50 are susceptible to bowel cancer but I have met so many young people with it.

“I know sufferers of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are also at high risk of developing bowel cancer and the majority with these two diseases are diagnosed in their teenage years.”

For more info on Cure Crohn’s Colitis, visit www.curecrohnscolitis.org.

Lesley has written a blog to raise awareness, in memory of Laura. Visit https://ahpscot.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/laura-lesley-shannon-never2young/.