Shane Andrews packed a great deal into his life with cystic fibrosis

Shane Andrews

Shane Andrews has died just weeks before his 39th birthday. - Credit: Andrews family

Shane Andrews lived with Cystic Fibrosis - but died earlier this month just before his 39th birthday. His stepmother Lynn, a former Star journalist, pays the family's tribute to someone who packed so much into his life.

Being long-term foster carers, Margaret and Richard Andrews had plenty of experience looking after children with assorted difficulties.

When Shane Blackwell, as he was then, entered their lives at their Ipswich home they could only guess how demanding his needs would be.

Originally told his life expectancy with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) would be ten, he lived until he was approaching his 39th birthday.

He was a sickly, grey looking child at first but through a strict diet and his own bounding energy that developed as soon as he became stronger, he needed no encouragement to do what the doctors advised and that was to keep him active.

Shane did sponsored walks, fun runs and cycling all raising funds for CF.

The whole family were members of Ipswich Judo Club and Shane went on to win numerous trophies at regional level and get his green belt.

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Living with CF gave him many opportunities he often said he wouldn’t have been given without being ill. He wanted to march out of Edinburgh Castle with a piped band and at the age of six he did this, attracting media coverage across Scotland.

Shane at Edinburgh

At six years old Shane led out the pipers at Edinburgh Castle. - Credit: Andrews family

In 1990 Shane became an Andrews through adoption by the family that had already been raising him as one of their own.

With family friend Cedric Fairweather, Shane did the 874 mile Lands End to John O’Groats ride on a tandem in ten days. At the age of eight he was the youngest then to do this and raised almost £9k for CF. This came just a few weeks after Margaret died from cancer so it was bitter-sweet.

Shane Andrews and Cedric Fairweather

Shane completed a marathon cycle ride from Lands End to John O Groats with family friend Cedric Fairweather when he was just eight years old. - Credit: Archant

Shane spent a lot of his energy raising money for CF and other local good causes. Numerous shorter cycle rides and runs, with the Thurleston Fun Run an annual event in his diary.

Sport was more important to him than subjects requiring him to sit still at his schools, Dale Hall Primary and Stoke and Claydon High. He was not cut out for academia yet got eight credible GCSEs.

His dad said it had always been a military operation to keep Shane alive but all the family helped.

“Each time he went into hospital he became frailer but he always rallied,” said Richard.

“Major surgery a few years ago meant his sporting days were over and he managed his own vital daily physio.

“The odds are against males with CF from becoming a father but 18 years ago his son Callum was born. We always felt he was unique,” he added.

Passing his driving test brought freedom to go anywhere under his own steam and he loved being taxi driver to his friends.

Shane Andrews and family

Shane with his girlfriend Kelly and son Callum. - Credit: Andrews family

He had a terrific sense of humour and his loss has devastated his dad, sister Lyn, brothers Ian and Zac, son Callum, girlfriend Kelly, his friends, extended family and me too, his sad step-mum.

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