Star turn for Ellie’s dragon boat team

Ellie Finnigan and comedian Russell Howard on Channel Four's Stars At Your Service
Ellie Finnigan and comedian Russell Howard on Channel Four's Stars At Your Service

Comedian Russell Howard took on a new challenge for his latest television appearance – all thanks to Chorley-born Ellie Finnigan.

Thirty-year-old Ellie applied to take part in Channel Four’s Stars At Your Service as part of Pool Of Life, a dragon boat racing team in Liverpool for breast cancer survivors.

And Ellie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, was delighted to be chosen for the new show.

She said: “I saw an advert on Channel Four a few months ago saying you could have a star serving you dinner or doing your housework.

“I went online and saw Russell Howard was taking part. I really like him, he’s really funny.

“I put an application in and they liked the idea.”

Ellie and fellow members of the team went to London last month to film with Russell Howard, as he got to grips with dragon boat racing.

Ellie, who grew up on Whitworth Drive, Chorley, and now lives in Liverpool, said: “He was really lovely, really friendly. He called himself our boat fairy.”

The episode will be broadcast on Saturday and Ellie will be watching with her husband, Simon, and other relatives.

She also hopes some clips can be shown during a ball celebrating the 10th anniversary of the dragon boat racing team.

Ellie joined Pool Of Life at the suggestion of her oncologist, after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28.

She has been treated at Chorley And South Ribble Hospital, where her mum, Christine, worked as a medical secretary for a cancer surgeon, and at Rosemere Cancer Foundation in Preston.

She now really enjoys dragon boat racing and plans to increase her training.

Ellie said: “It’s made such a big difference. It’s been a huge support emotionally and also it has been absolutely amazing to be able to do something positive after going through all my treatment.”

Ellie, a conveyancing solicitor, hopes the programme will inspire other women.

She said: “It’s lovely to show there’s life after cancer, that there is something positive that you can get involved in.

“I also wanted to show that young women get cancer, not just mums and aunties and grans.

“It’s important that they check themselves regularly.”

Stars At Your Service will be broadcast at 6.10pm on Saturday on Channel Four.