Brother of former DUP MLA to make 500-mile charity road trip tribute

James Magill, brother of former East Antrim DUP MLA David Hilditch, will make the journey across Europe in a Fiat 500 visiting war memorials in aid of Macmillan Cancer
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The brother of former East Antrim DUP MLA David Hilditch who recently passed away, is doing a 500-mile charity road trip across Europe in a small Fiat 500 car in aid of Macmillan Cancer.

James Magill will start the journey this Sunday (November 26) in memory of David, who died earlier this month after a cancer battle. Visiting war memorials along the way, the fundraiser will also pay tribute to their Great Great Aunt Aggie who lost her husband at the Battle of the Somme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

James from Carrickfergus has set up the online Just Giving page to raise vital funds for the charity which is close to the family’s heart and has already raised over £1,200.

He explained: “I'm doing a 500 mile road trip in a little Fiat 500 to raise hopefully more than £500 for Macmillan Cancer, weaving a tale across Europe involving Great Great Aunt Aggie, her Fiat 126, World War One and my brother David's respect for the Ulster 36th Division's sacrifice at the Somme in 1916.

"We recently lost my brother David to cancer at the age of 60 and Macmillan were there at the end to help with his passing. We want to remember David and his passions in our own automotive way.

“David was a great supporter of the memory of the 36th Ulster Division who suffered horrific losses at the Battle of the Somme. It was at this battle that our Great Great Uncle Francis, and his brother, died on the first day of the campaign with 5,500 other soldiers, leaving his wife, Agnes a widow at a very young age.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Now, 'Aunt Aggie' went on to have a very long life. My earliest memories of her were her road trips around Ireland in her Fiat 126, causing chaos where ever she went, dragging my grandmother and a very young and impressionable me along.

The late David Hilditch. Photo courtesy of Cheryl BrownleeThe late David Hilditch. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Brownlee
The late David Hilditch. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Brownlee

“I wanted to bring the memory of these two people together to fund raise £500 for Macmillan using our tiny, quarter of a century, Fiat Cinquecento, the descendant of Aunt Aggie's little Fiat 126, to road trip nearly 500 miles from our home in Wales, across Europe to visit the war memorials at Thiepval.

"It is here that Great Great Uncle Frances name has been carved on a panel and, nearby, is the Ulster Tower, built in 1921 as Northern Ireland's first war memorial, a place very important to David, which he would visit every year in remembrance of the 36th division.”

Macmillan Cancer provides health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer. The charity also runs public campaigns, build partnerships, and influences decision-makers on cancer-related policies. It is 98% funded by voluntary donations, so fundraising is essential.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Already doubling his target of £500, Jim added: “A huge thank you to everyone that donated to Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of David. They do such amazing work and are so needed at the moment with the health services at breaking point.”

Related topics: