Preston sisters doing Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research in honour of their dad are encouraging others to help fight cancer

Sisters who lost their father to cancer just months after he was diagnosed are encouraging others to take part in Cancer Research's Race for Life events.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 10:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 12:00 pm
Penny Young and Shirley Whittle Photo by Julie Lomax

Penny Young, 48, and Shirley Whittle, 53, took part in their first Race for Life event last June at Moor Park having lost their dad, Colin Potter, just 10 months earlier.

Colin, a former train driver, had become poorly in May 2017, as he had lost his appetite, was losing weight and struggling to swallow food. The GP immediately warned Colin that he feared he may have cancer. Determined to get on with his life, he enjoyed a big family holiday of 18 relatives to the Canaries, which had been booked prior.

A series of tests once he was back confirmed Colin had stage four oesophageal cancer. Doctors felt Colin wasn’t strong enough to withstand chemotherapy, but were confident he would recover with a course of radiotherapy and a stent to help him to eat. But following the radiotherapy, Colin was given just 12 months to live. He deteriorated quickly and died in September 2017 aged 76 leaving his wife Vera, five children, 14 grand-children and 13 great-grandchildren.

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Colin and Vera Potter

Penny, of Moor Park, and Shirley work as cleaners at Preston North End. They loved the Race for Life experience so much last year that they are rallying a gang of at least eight family members to take part in Pretty Muddy at Moor Park in June. Last summer they raised £500.

Penny said: “I have really struggled with my dad’s death, so I was anxious about taking part in Race for Life just months after he had died, but I really loved taking part. It was incredibly emotional reading everyone’s back-signs and motivation.”

Mum-of-four, Shirley, of Moor Nook, said: “Penny and I were absolutely overcome with emotion last year. I was determined to raise as much money as possible to stop anyone else going through the same heartache.

“Together, we can help beat this devastating disease and I want to encourage as many people as possible to join the fight and sign up to the Race for Life.”

Colin Potter as a young man

Race for Life 5k and 10k events will be held at Moor Park on Sunday June 16. Pretty Muddy Kids and Pretty Muddy events for adults will also be held at Moor Park on Saturday June 15.

To enter Race for Life today visit or call 0300 123 0770.

Colin and Vera Potter