Irene Wescombe, Devonport, 17 February 2008

Our Angels Abreast team has gained another member – Irene Wescombe, Founder of the Devonport team.

Irene has battled for some time and put up a very brave fight. I received the news in Sydney last Sunday – it was a couple of hours before the Flowers on The Water Ceremony – so I made a special dedication to Irene and the other 5 lovely and brave women that we have already lost this year. It was a very poignant ceremony – and as one member described it:


“Twelve boats, each paddled by twenty breast cancer survivors and with breast cancer sweeps and drummers, form a floating raft, all linked by the participants holding hands. Four of the Sydney women had written a song which they sang, played over the speakers to all at Darling Harbour while the large audience remained completely still and quiet, transfixed by the beauty of the spectacle and the sound. Petals, both pink for the women and blue for the men, are scattered on the water and a minute’s silence was then observed. Darling Harbour remained still and silent. There were many tears. At this point, there was a very light shower of rain, as if the sky itself was crying for all those lost to breast cancer. The ceremony concluded with the boats breaking apart and each, observing a “slow paddle”, circled Cockle Bay while the audience showed their appreciation by clapping continuously and while the petals floated on the water.”


Our Angels Abreast team keeps growing – Irene has joined a bunch of wonderful women and I always like to think of them in a big dragon boat in the sky that looks down up us all each time we race. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Irene and she did an absolutely fantastic job getting the group in Devonport off the ground – that is her legacy – she has brought the magic of Dragon Abreast to so many women in Devonport.


I have extended our sympathy to Irene’s husband Randy – and I am sure you all join me in sending the Devonport team our condolences on the loss of their Founder.


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