Mum keeps late son’s memory alive

The late Anthony Clarke.
The late Anthony Clarke.

STRATHFOYLE mum Hester Clarke recently raised £756 in memory of her late son Anthony who sadly passed away in March 2011.

Hester raised the money for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice by completing the inaugural Anthony Clarke Annual Sponsored Walk from the Peace Bridge to the Foyle Bridge.

Anthony succumbed to the debilitating effects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy just weeks after his 18th birthday in 2011 and has since become the inspiration for the annual fundraising event set up by his mother.

Confined through his condition to a wheelchair from the age-of-nine Anthony received respite care from the hospice and was an active fundraiser himself until his untimely passing.

The NI Children’s Hospice said they would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended and supported Hester’s walk.

All monies raised from this event, and other fundraising events in the Foyle area, goes directly towards the work of NI Children’s Hospice.

Speaking to the Sentinel last year Hester explained how fundraising in Anthony’s memory helped her: “It keeps a strong sense of him being a part of my life. When he was alive he was such a big part of my life and I take heart from do these sorts of things.

“I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me over the years, especially the medical staff, but in particular Anthony’s grandparents, who helped with Anthony’s care for the greatest part of his life and gave me respite. Anthony just smiled all the time and raising money in his memory makes me smile.”

Although Anthony died on March 22 this year, Hester said that rather than being despondent by her loss she felt inspired, because by her son possessed such a positive outlook on life and was always smiling despite his illness.

Anthony was diagnosed with the degenerative condition when he was a tiny tot of two and a half, but never allowed his illness to hold him back from enjoying life.

She told the paper last year: “We celebrated his 18th birthday on February 26, which was the Saturday night before his actual birthday.

“Even though he enjoyed himself, he as not well after his party, his breathing was bad and he was taken into Altnagelvin. While he was in the Intensive Care Unit all he could do was talk about St Patrick’s Day.

“He just loved St Patrick’s Day and getting into town to see the parades and all he talked about getting out for St Patrick’s Day.

“He got out of hospital on the Tuesday, a couple of days before St Patrick’s Day. He was so looking forward to it he was checking the weather forecast to see if it was going to be a dry day.

“He just wanted to see if it was going to be nice for going into town for something to eat and to see the parades,” Hester recalled.

Further information on the work of NI Children’s Hospice in the area is available by phoning 028 7186 4329, or visiting