Belfast Telegraph

Family of tractor tragedy boy Thomas Magee plans charity walk in his memory

By Victoria Leonard

The family of a four-year-old boy who lost his life in a tractor accident are undertaking a New Year's Eve trek to raise funds for poorly children in his memory.

Thomas Magee, from Maguiresbridge in Co Fermanagh, died in April after a tragic incident involving a digger at his family's dairy farm.

As they approach their first Christmas without him, his family are aiming to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation in his name.

His mum, Jacqueline, told the Belfast Telegraph: "Thomas's sister, Emily, is determined to raise £10,000 for the Make A Wish foundation. She said Thomas wanted to farm and he had his wish granted every day.

"She wanted to make another little boy or girl's wish come true, and she has already raised £8,000 through a coffee morning in Thomas's memory.

"Thomas was the kind of child who lit up a room when he walked into it - he had a cheeky grin, sparkling eyes and was a real wee character.

"Everyone that knew him loved him. He was a real wee blessing. We miss him every second of every day.

"This time last year he was the shepherd in the school nativity play, which was the perfect role for a wee farmer.

"I remember him walking up and down the church, singing his wee heart out. It is a precious, precious memory.

"Doing the fundraising walk on New Year's Eve is a nice way to end the year and to start 2018 in a positive way. We hope it will be well supported."

Describing the past year as "every parent's worst nightmare," Jacqueline told how she and her husband had drawn strength from their daughters, Emily (8) and two-year-old Lucianna.

"It is hard watching Thomas's wee classmates running into school, especially for Emily," Jacqueline added. "They were very close and she and her brother used to spend a lot of time outside together.

"They both loved the snow and building snowmen together, but there is a huge hole there now.

"Poor Emily, she has had to grow up very quickly. In her eight years she has experienced more sadness than some people do in a lifetime, but she has been amazing.

"She is determined to make something good out of something sad and to help sick children. She is a real inspiration. She doesn't realise how much she has helped us get through these last eight months.

"She makes us remember how lucky we are to have two beautiful little girls, even though we have lost a very, very precious little boy."

Jacqueline described how Thomas was her husband Davy's "wee sidekick" and how he "couldn't wait to follow in his daddy's footsteps on the farm, but it wasn't meant to be".

The grieving mum said the family plan to visit his grave, with its newly erected headstone, on Christmas Day.

"It's very important that Emily and Lucianna have a nice day," she added.

"Thomas's headstone has been put in place for Christmas so we can visit it.

"For the first six months I went every day to his grave, now I go a couple of times a week. At the end of the day, he is up in Heaven."

At 1pm on New Year's Eve, walkers will gather at the Glens Cottage to embark on a walk through Gortin Glen Forest Park, beginning at 1.30pm.

"The community have been amazing, and since the tragedy we have met other couples who have tragically lost children and have been a wonderful support," Jacqueline said.

"They know exactly how we feel and how difficult this time of year is."

Paying tribute to her "loving, bubbly" nephew, Thomas's aunt Sandra Edgar said the walk was a fitting way to remember the youngster.

"One of my last memories of Thomas was when we were walking along the lane and he was looking after his little sister," she added.

"It's a comfort that the fundraising will benefit ill children and that, despite being so young, Thomas has left a legacy."

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thomasmagee

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