TV and stage star backs Zumba rumba in memory of a legend

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MORE than 250 people took part in a four-hour charity Zumbathon recently in honour of an inspirational woman from Bishopbriggs – including her good friend Elaine C Smith.

The event was organised in memory of Janette de Haan, who was well-known in the community as a conscientious social worker and for her work to eradicate domestic violence and child abuse across the country.

She devoted 22 years of service to the Women’s Support Project in Glasgow — an organisation which strives to protect women and children from violence, exploitation and oppression.

Janette, from Bishopbriggs, was also a founding member of the Scottish Government’s national group on Violence Against Women and was instrumental in establishing Scotland’s first domestic abuse court.

Sadly, in June of this year, Janette died following a prolonged battle with cancer.

During her illness she attended the occasional Zumba class, where she made an immediate impact on instructor Nicole Tulloch.

Nicole, from Springburn, said: “Janette was an inspirational woman and I decided to do something in her honour.

“To a lot of people in our classes, Zumba is more than just an exercise class, it has brought so many together.

“For Janette, the class gave her a bit of respite as she was also a full-time carer for her mum.

“But she never complained - she was always happy and smiling. She was more than just a classmate - she was a friend. The Zumbathon was in her honour, with the aim of raising awareness of these charities.”

The event, which was was held at the Milngavie and Bearsden Sports Centre, proved to be an overwhelming success, raising a fantasttic £5,300. All proceeds will be split between the Beatson Oncology Centre and the Women’s Support Project.

Nicole, a make-up artist for a number of TV projects, was able to enlist a number of famous faces to attend the Zumbathon.

Sports presenter Alison Walker, Clyde 1 DJ Romeo, Mrs Brown’s Boys actor Gary Hollywood and Leah Macrae from Gary: Tank Commander all turned out to show their support.

However, top of the bill was Elaine C Smith, a long-time friend of Janette’s, who auctioned off her own Zumba routine to raise additional funds.

HERE WE GO: Alison Walker, Nicole Tulloch and Elaine C Smith get set for the big fundraiser.