Colleagues rise to the Han-Del-Bar challenge in memory of caring pal

Zoe Leithgoe, 22, with her son Dylan who has cystic fibrosis
Zoe Leithgoe, 22, with her son Dylan who has cystic fibrosis
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Workers at a Preston business sported moustaches for a month to raise awareness and funds for Cystic Fibrosis and to honour the memory of a friend who died suddenly last year.

When Zoe Leithgoe and Rory Watling’s good friend who was very close to their son died suddenly, they knew they wanted to do something in honour of his memory.

Derrick Bryan

Derrick Bryan

Derrick Bryan, 47, who was Zoe’s partner Rory’s best friend and used to share a house with him, died suddenly in December last year after suffering a heart attack.

Derrick was very close to Zoe and Rory’s son Dylan, one, who has cystic fibrosis, so Zoe and her colleagues at Capita at Tulketh Mill in Preston decided that everyone - male and female - should sport a moustache for a month to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Zoe, 22, who lives in Ribbleton, Preston, says: “Myself and Rory both work at Capita at Tulketh Mill in Preston and Derrick worked there too.

“Rory and Derrick first met seven years ago and were very good friends and lived together and were very close.

“Derrick passed away very suddenly last December. We were all on a work’s Christmas do in Preston city centre last year and Derrick seemed fine and was dancing around.

“However, he was complaining of chest pains.

“The next morning, his partner found him dead on the sofa.

“He died on December 14 last year - the day before his 48th birthday.

“Derrick’s death was a huge shock as he was always the life and soul of the party.

“Derrick always used to take part in Movember and was a great supporter of charities so one of the managers at Capita came up with the idea of the Han-Del-Bar challenge to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

“The idea of the challenge was for all the men to grow a handlebar moustache and the ladies to wear fake ones or to draw one on for the month.

“We did it in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as Derrick loved my son Dylan who has the condition and I know he would have wanted to do something for the charity.”

Dylan, who is now 17-months-old, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was four-weeks-old following a heel prick test.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease, caused by a faulty gene.

This gene controls the movement of salt and water in and out of your cells, so the lungs and digestive system become clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food. More than 2.5m people in the UK carry the faulty gene, around one in 25 of the population.

There is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis but many treatments are available to manage it, including physiotherapy, exercise, medication and nutrition.

Zoe says: “When Dylan was first born, we thought everything was fine as the pregnancy and birth all went very smoothly.

“However, Dylan struggled to put on weight so was sent back to hospital and tests showed he had cystic fibrosis.”

Dylan has to have physiotherapy and antibiotics twice a day and he also has to take enzymes to break down his food every time he eats anything as well as having to take extra vitamins.

Zoe explains: “We just have to keep on top of the medication and Dylan is also susceptible to lung infections.

“But despite everything, Dylan is very happy, cheeky and smiley and is a really bright little boy.

“Even when he is poorly in hospital, he is still smiling and laughing.”

The workers at Capita have now shaved off and taken off their false moustaches and so far, they have raised £1,500 for the cause - but money is still coming in.

l If you would like to make a donation for the team, visit Zoe’s VirginMoney giving page at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/han-del-barchallenge