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Rowers pull together in poignant race in memory of coach's mother

Rowers pull together in poignant race in memory of coach's mother

Lucy Elder

Rowers pull together in poignant race in memory of coach's mother
Debbie Sloan

Rowers from Windsor Boys' School pulled together at Wallingford Regatta in memory of the mum of one of their coaches.

Debbie Sloan, mum of coach Lewis Sloan, passed away on Wednesday, April 29, aged 53 following a battle with breast cancer.

On Sunday, Lewis was joined by a mixed crew of rowers to take part in the Elite Eight race at the regatta held at Dorney Lake in honour of his mum.

The crew was made up of cox William Denegri, director of rowing Mark Wilkinson, Harry Oliver, Alex Laws, Lewis, Ed Laws, Arthur Smith, Henry Smith and coach Patrick Tackney.

They wore custom-made pink ribbon breast cancer awareness shirts, donated by ID sports.

Mark, director of rowing at the Maidenhead Road school, said: “We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of Debbie. She was a great supporter of the club.

"We wanted to honour her by competing in this event as it was her fond wish that Lewis would race again."

The crew finished fourth in their heat to a roar from the crowd and qualified for the repechage later that day, which was unfortunatley cancelled due to the weather.

Debbie's husband Ronnie paid tribute to his late wife and described her as a 'beautiful lady with a very large heart'.

He said: "I have nothing but respect for everyone we have met who helped my wife through her breast cancer.

"The work done by all at the clinics and chemotherapy units is outstanding.

"My wife was so strong and positive throughout and we really thought we had beaten it, but it was not to be."

Photo by Ben Rodford Photography

Her secondary breast cancer returned in March this year and became aggressive in April.

Ronnie added they were due to go to Bruge on the May 1 to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary.

"My sons and I have been blown away by the kind words passed to us," he said.

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