Monday, May 20, 2024


THE Malone family want this Sunday’s ‘Wee James’ tractor run’ to be a day of joy and happiness, to reflect the way James lived his life. He died in March of this year, and since the day of his funeral the family have worked towards creating this day of celebration.

His sister Aisling said: “Everyone will be there to support each other but it is 100 per cent a celebration of his life. “He was someone so full of love and full of life, and full of craic.

He was always joking. We hope that the day will be like that. We hope that it will be as lighthearted, fun and as lively as he would have been.” The day will mark James’s 21st birthday and the tractor run will raise money for charities such as St Vincent De Paul, Mind Your Mate and Yourself (MYMY) and PIPS (a suicide prevention charity).

Hundreds of tractors are expected to take to the roads near Leitrim in his memory. There is a Go Fund me page and the family will hold auctions and raffles on the day, where there will be food and live music to accompany the tractor run. Aisling said James would have been excited about such a day. “James loved things like this. He was all about farming and all about tractors. “He had his own model farm as well as helping out with Daddy’s farm. It was something he really enjoyed and all his friends really enjoyed it. I do think he would love it, and he would love all the support that it has received and the craic that it has been bringing. “James and Daddy would have gone to tractor runs for years.

Any tractor run that was nearby they would have went to, and they would have even travelled to them. “They would try to get to as many as possible. We thought we should do something that reflected his life and what he would have enjoyed.” Aisling said the family have spent the past three months planning an event such as this one. “After we had the funeral we had a mini tractor run that evening and the idea kind of sparked from that. Then it was a case of getting together and asking how we would do it, and asking people who have done it before. Everyone has been brilliant. “It’s been amazing and overwhelming and we are just speechless with the support we have got from everyone. Everyone has been so kind and so generous. The support and advice we have got from everyone has been amazing.” The family set up a Go Fund Me page and had an initial fundraising target of £2,000. “We never thought we would have reached it, but we reached it and went over it,” Aisling said. So, everything now is a bonus. It has been amazing, we can’t get over it.” She explained that they chose to support SVP because they have always helped the family even before James died. James died by suicide in March and the family felt that it was important to donate to some charities who work in that area. “We picked PIPS and MYMY because of the message that they have about looking after your mental health and looking after everybody around you. “We thought that it spoke the most for the situation and also because they are local as well. There are people we know that work for those charities.”

The work the charities carry out in order to promote the message of taking care of your mental health is an important one that more people should be aware of. Aisling said: “We are hoping that it is showing that you are not on your own. With the amazing support that we have had we are hoping that people feel they can reach out to those charities if they need to. It is part of the conversation. “Just to show that there is support out there and you are not on your own. “The charities that we are hoping to donate to, they need the support. The work that they do is amazing and we want to support them so they can continue to do that work.” So, with that in mind the Malone family are encouraging as many people as possible to come out and enjoy the day. “There is loads to do. We want people to bring the family. “It is not just for tractor drivers. “We have got the tractors but we also have an amazing raffle and an amazing auction going on. “We have live music and hot food. “We are trying to make a good craic day that is lighthearted for people to enjoy. We would love as many people as possible to come.” Aisling said the response to the planned tractor run has been ‘amazing’. “It comes up in conversation and we are not bringing it up. Social media has been great as well. We have a Facebook page and the support from it alone leaves us speechless.” Aisling said the entire family is working on the project, from her parents Emmet and Geraldine, to her sisters Karen and Lorna, and beyond. “The whole Malone family all have helped out, aunties, uncles and cousins. All of the McElroy family as well. “There are an awful lot of them helping out. Even friends that Daddy and James would have worked with are helping out. “There are companies and businesses that they have worked with or who even just heard about it. “Both the Malone and McElroy families want to thank everyone for their continued support and kindness to the family and James’ friends.”

Wee James’ Tractor Run, Sunday 9 July at The Mill (50 Leitrim Road, Co Down, BT31 9BD)

For more information see their GoFundMe page – https://www.gofund

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