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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Lisburn mum reaches out to teenager on chat show


Marc Halpin with his mother Collette McShane

Marc Halpin with his mother Collette McShane before he died three years ago.

A LISBURN mother whose son died after taking ecstasy tablets has appeared on a nationwide TV show in a bid to prevent an unruly teenager following the same path as her dead son.

Collette McShane was one of two parents who have lost children to drugs invited by the producer of the ITV programme The Jeremy Kyle Show to speak to Emily Andrews, 16, on the devastating effects of drugs and the consequences they have on family life.

The Tonagh woman, whose son Marc Halpin died three years ago at the age of 20, explained: "When I received the initial call about appearing on the show I thought someone was winding me up.

"After some consideration I decided I had to do it if it meant that I could in some small way help the young girl who was on a path to destruction."

Collette made a heartfelt plea to Emily to stop using drugs and clean up her act. "I wanted to get across to Emily the pain my family has experienced following Marc's death. I told her she was playing Russian Roulette and dicing with death every time she took drugs.

"I spoke of the agony I felt when I saw my son lying dead on a hospital bed with blood coming out of his nose and ears and his body looking like it had been inflated with a pump. No mother should have to witness that."

Emily's mother Tracy Varnam from Lincolnshire said Collette's advice really helped open her daughter's eyes.

"Collette talked a lot of sense and Emily really listened. I have seen a dramatic improvement in her behaviour and she is looking forward to starting a new college course. She still has a long way to go but she has taken onboard what was said." Collette added: "I was a mother helping another mother. I am delighted to hear that Emily is trying to clean up her act. It will take time but she has a good mother and she knows that it takes a brave person to say no to drugs."

Ulster Star