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About Billy

In February 1999 my only son Billy was drowned in Lake Malawi. He was just twenty five. He had visited the small African country on several occasions and had grown to love the country, its people and in particular the village of Cape MacClear. It was ironic that in his last letter to me he referred to Cape MacClear as paradise. He lost his life in paradise less than 48 hours later.

One year later in February 2000 I travelled to Cape MacClear to place a memorial stone by the Lake in his memory. I spent three months there getting to know the villagers and their way of life.

I returned to the village five times over the next two and a half years spending some time teaching in the primary school. I wanted to identify a project to undertake in the village in Billy’s memory. An outbreak of cholera and continual deaths from Malaria and simple childhood diseases very soon made me realise that a medical clinic in the village was not just necessary but essential. For these people medical treatment was almost non-existent. There was no clinic, doctor or nurse here and the nearest hospital is in Mangochi , a difficult four hour journey away. I decided to return to home which is Dingle, County Kerry in Ireland and try to raise the money to build a clinic in Cape MacClear.

The Billy Riordan Memorial Trust was formed and with the generosity of the community at home, and the local chief who donated the land for the Clinic, the original Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic was opened in 2004.

I now base myself for most of the year in Cape MacClear and live in the Volunteer Centre. I have grown to love this village and its people and now dedicate my time to sustaining  and developing this project.

Mags Riordan

March has brought quite a change of volunteers yet again