Charity climb for cause close to their hearts

By Julie Magee


By Julie Magee


The memory of a much-loved mother will live on when her son and a close friend embark on a charity challenge to climb Africa's highest mountain.

Castleroe Primary School teacher David McMillan and Portrush optician Stephen Vandevyver have their sights set on raising funds for a cause close to their hearts when they leave their Portrush homes on February 6.

Their trip of a lifetime to the 5,895 metre summit of Kilimanjaro will support the vital work of Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of Dave's mother Jean McMillan who passed away from cancer last March, at the age of 74.

David, 44, and Stephen, 37, who owns i care opticians in Portrush, have been friends for many years.

David said: “I really enjoy hill walking and I love a trip to the Mourne Mountains. Stephen and I trained for the Belfast Marathon but I was surprised when he agreed to climb Kilimanjaro with me. It's always good to have one crazy friend.

“My wife Rosey was always supportive of the idea but is undoubtedly much happier that Stephen is going with me. We saw this adventure as an opportunity to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and to honour my mum.

“Mum lived in Portrush all her life; her faith was very important to her and she was a very active member of Portrush Presbyterian Church.

“She had a spirit for adventure and when my sister went to live in Savannah USA for a few years she set off on her own to visit her, as she had promised her grandchildren that she would come to see them.”

David recalled: “Mum faced her illness bravely and showed great determination. She continued to embrace life and, when not in hospital, enjoyed going out for coffee with her friends and taking day trips away with her family. I will need some of her determination when I am climbing."

*For the full story see this week's Coleraine Chronicle.

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