Co Antrim man aiming to drum up a world record to raise cancer charity funds


A man who lost his partner to cancer will go without sleep for a week as he attempts to set a new world record by drumming continuously for 150 hours.

If he succeeds, Allister Brown from Lisburn will enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the third time.

The event takes place on Saturday, July 16, at the Lisburn Music Centre where the 45-year-old will test his physical and mental endurance to the limit playing 2,500 songs in memory of his late partner Sharon Deegan, who died from pancreatic cancer in January 2021, aged 49.

Allister, who works for a structural steel engineering firm, hopes to raise as much money and awareness as he can for local pancreatic cancer charity NIPANC.

Funds raised for NIPANC are invested into raising awareness about the symptoms of the disease, research and supporting families who face a diagnosis of this devastating illness.

Record bid: Allister Brown

Allister is also donating half the proceeds to the UK charity, Mind after struggling with his own mental ill health issues after nursing Sharon for more than three years before she died.

He said: “People never think anything bad is going to happen to them until it does. Pancreatic cancer survival rates are very low because it is usually not picked up in time. Sharon did have a chance to get an operation known as the Whipple’s procedure which only around 15 per cent of patients are eligible for but recovery was far too difficult for her. Watching someone you love die of this cruel disease is just horrific. NIPANC is working to fund research which is something we all need to get behind and support.

“After I lost Sharon to pancreatic cancer in 2021, I was devastated. I needed help with my mental health. Now I want to raise as much awareness and money for NIPANC and Mind as possible, while going for the world record. My aim is to let people understand you should never feel you’re on your own.”

Allister met his partner Sharon at a drumming event in Lisburn in 2017. Just six months later she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

He says: “She started taking pains in her side and back. This went on for a few months with doctors diagnosing constipation. I took her to A&E numerous times until eventually a doctor asked for a CT scan to make sure nothing else was triggering the pain.

“They kept Sharon in for the scan and the following day I got a call. She was in tears and asked me to get down to the hospital urgently. She said she hadn’t got good news.”

After Sharon’s loss, Allister suffered with mental ill health and says it was only the drumming community which helped him heal.

NIPANC chairperson Ivan McMinn said: “Yet another epic endurance event to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer. Another story of human kindness and endeavour to turn a devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer into something positive. Allister, NIPANC is behind you every beat of the drum.”

Ian O’Reilly, head of Community & Events fundraising at Mind, said: “We are really grateful to Ali for choosing to support Mind through this incredible challenge, and we wish him well.

Allister has urged to people to get behind him and donate. The event starts in the Lisburn Music Centre, Railway Street which will remain open 24-7 while he drums through night and day.

You can catch Allister’s attempt live at and donate at