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Ex-sports editor completes Great North Run in fiancée’s memory

A former regional daily sports editor who ran the Great North Run in memory of his fiancée has shared his pain at her loss in a piece for his former paper.

Colin Leslie, previously of The Scotsman, lost his partner Sharon to secondary breast cancer last September.

A year on, he undertook Sunday’s half marathon on Tyneside in aid of Breast Cancer Now.

Colin, who spent 16 years with The Scotsman before taking voluntary redundancy in April, wrote of his loss in a piece ahead of the race, describing his return to work following her death.

Sharon and Colin

Sharon and Colin

He wrote: “I was fortunate enough to have support available in abundance from my friends, family and colleagues, whenever I sought it.

“My employers were also highly supportive, giving me ample time off for compassionate leave as they had done throughout Sharon’s treatment and illness. I recognise that not everyone is so lucky.

“Returning to the office wasn’t easy. The day I went back, I took an age to force myself out of my front door and behind my desk.

“I felt like I had a neon arrow above my head screaming ‘Bereaved: handle with extreme care’. It certainly beat moping around at home, however, as there is nothing like a heavy workload to occupy the mind.”

Colin began running for charities including Macmillan and Breast Cancer Now as a way to gain “added focus” following his loss.

He added: “Others are guided by their faith, professionals or support groups. Grief is a truly personal experience, and one you are entitled to take ownership of. Do whatever helps you negotiate ‘the process’.

“For me, that process is ongoing, and has been firmly based on taking one day at a time. I’ve first dreaded then dealt with anniversaries, Christmas and birthdays in my own way.

“I’ve felt my sadness is magnified and wounds reopened when hearing of others affected by cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

“I accept these occasions will roll round each year, but I also put faith in the likelihood they will get easier.

“Grief is with you for life, but so too are positive memories and the happiness you once experienced with the loved one you have lost. Manage the former, embrace the latter.”

You can donate to Breast Cancer Now and Colin’s JustGiving page here.


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  • September 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    As someone who has lost several relatives and good family friends to this plague of cancer that afflicts the human race I am touched by what Colin writes. Indeed, grief is always with you, but becomes a little less painful over the years. Good luck.

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  • September 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Well done Colin, I’m sure Sharon would be very proud.

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