Coleraine woman raises over £2,000 for Alzheimer’s Society in memory of her mum

A Coleraine woman, Cathy McClolgan, has raised over £2,000 for Alzheimer’s Society in memory of her beloved mum, who passed away just before Christmas.
Cathy and her mum SallyCathy and her mum Sally
Cathy and her mum Sally

Sally McColgan, who was 74-years-old, had been living with Alzheimer’s Disease for 12 years.

Sadly, just 25 friends and family were able to attend her funeral service due to coronavirus restrictions. So when Cathy hosted an Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day in her mum’s honour last month, it was a chance for people to show their support.

Cathy said Sally was a wonderful mum to her and her three brothers: “Mummy brought four of us up singlehandedly since I was maybe nine-years-old.

“We never had much in terms of material goods, but we had the love and protection of our mother, food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and the best she could afford. She went without to make sure we had what we needed.”

Sally was also a devoted daughter and cared for her own mum who also had Alzheimer’s.

“Mum loved birds and animals, more so than people, which she often admitted herself,” explained Cathy.

“She was content in her own company but always enjoyed the craic and banter when anyone came to visit. She looked after her own mother who also had Alzheimer’s, visiting her every day, whilst her father visited every night. She was a devoted daughter, mother and grandmother. We all miss her so much.”

Tragically, Cathy’s dad Jim McColgan, 81, is suffering from vascular dementia and is now receiving end of life care at his care home.

“We can still visit him, but it’s with full PPE of course,” continued Cathy. “He still recognises me although he would maybe call me by his sister’s name. With mum she didn’t recognise us, but you would know what she was feeling.”

Despite dealing with her mother’s death and her father’s illness Cathy was determined to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society by holding a Cupcake Day last month.

She invited a close group of friends and family to come to the fundraiser and it was the first time she had seen many of them since her mum died.

“A lot of people supported me because of Mum,” said Cathy.

“I hadn’t been out the door in 14 or 15 months because of the coronavirus so it was great to see people again and they were so generous.

“Only 25 people could come to Mum’s funeral. But they lined the streets outside her former home when the funeral cortege drove by, which brought us a lot of comfort.”

The event raised an impressive £2,082.50, smashing Cathy’s original target of £100.

“I set up a one-way system so people came in the front door and out the back and it was all socially distanced with masks and sanitiser.”

And Cathy said you don’t have to be a baker to hold a Cupcake Day

“My friends and family donated everything. We had cupcakes, gluten free cupcakes, fruitcake, Victoria sponge, mince pies that were all homemade and then people donated shop bought stuff too.”

Cathy was among over 2,000 supporters from across Northern Ireland who took part in Cupcake Day 2021. Their commitment comes at a critical time for people with dementia who have been worst hit by coronavirus.

Bernadine McCrory, Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland Country Director, said: “Following a difficult year for people with dementia, we are in awe of supporters like Cathy whose brilliant fundraising efforts enable us to reach more people through our vital support services, like the Dementia Connect support line. Our services have been used over five million times across the UK since March 2020 and have been a lifeline to thousands, but there are so many more who urgently need our help.

“The last year has been a tough year for everyone, but for the 22,000 people with dementia in Northern Ireland, the impact of coronavirus has been catastrophic. Each cupcake that has been sold will help Alzheimer’s Society fund crucial research, improve care and offer support, help and understanding for people affected, and we are hugely grateful for our amazing supporters like Cathy from Coleraine and all those who baked a difference this Cupcake Day. Their dedication to fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society ensures that we are able to support those who need it most during this difficult period.

To find out more about Cupcake Day, or to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society by taking part in a fundraising event, visit

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