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The Highland Line: special Wimbledon memories for family hit by cancer

The start of Wimbledon this year was an emotional time for Dave Morris, the estimable director of Ramblers Scotland, and his family.

Last year his daughter Esme Macintyre, 18, died while watching Andy Murray become the first British man in 77 years to win the famous competition. She had met the champion and his mother Judy Murray shortly before that day.

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Esme, from Kinnesswood near Kinross, suffered from an incurable brain tumour and had been ticking off a list of things to do. She also met Sir Chris Hoy and singers Emeli Sande and Amy Macdonald. Scots actor Ewen McGregor was to have been next.

The BBC broadcast a documentary on Monday When Andy Won Wimbledon which included the story of Esme's visit to Centre Court at the All England Club, her meeting Andy and Judy Murray, and her sad end.

There was film of Esme on skis, snowbike and tricycle. There were also interviews with her brother Calum, mother Anne and Dave. They explained how Esme had followed the example set by another young person battling cancer (Stephen Sutton) and set up a Facebook page (Esme's Adventure) to document the challenges she faced in her seven-year struggle.

This remarkable family has suffered the cruel blows. Five years ago, Calum then a 16-year-old pupil in his sixth year at Kinross High School, completed the ascent of the Himalayan mountain Ama Dablam, which at 23,501ft (6812m) is five times the height of Ben Nevis. It is a peak that Sir Edmund Hillary once described as "unclimbable".

Calum, who raised £4000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, climbed Ama Dablam as a member of the Team Ascent Expedition led by Sandy Allan, a professional mountain guide from Newtonmore. Four members were from Scotland and three were from England. Five of them reached the summit along with four climbing sherpas, led by Sirdar Dawa Sherpa. The team had to contend with deep snow and high winds.

After conquering the peak, Calum said: "It gave me a great sense of achievement. My sister, Esme, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2006 at the age of 11 and has spent a lot of time in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. She continues to make great progress and is back at school, but still gets a lot of support from the trust.

"Another motivation for me to raise money for a cancer charity is because my father was also treated for cancer in 2008. He had his voice box removed in January this year, but he still came with me on the expedition. He climbed to over 20,000ft which was a great achievement for him."

Since his operation, father Dave breathes through a hole or stoma in his throat and was believed to be the first person to climb above 15,000ft after such an operation. After the climb he said he was proud of his son.

Earlier this week Dave, a campaigner for access rights in Scotland, told The Highland Line: "We are having very mixed feelings as Wimbledon starts this year. The deep sadness in remembering Esme's passing contrasts so sharply with the fun and excitement of Esme's Wimbledon experience.

"We were delighted that she was well enough go to Wimbledon on the first day, sit on the edge of the Centre Court grass and then meet Andy and Judy afterwards. But then we were very relieved that, within a couple of weeks, her final hours at home were peaceful and quiet but also joyful and rewarding as Andy finally achieved his ambition. No Wimbledon Final will ever be the same again."

Esme's Just Giving page to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust is still active: www.justgiving.com/esmesadventure

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