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Parents pledge to keep son James’ legacy alive
Friday 22nd February 2019 @ 15:51 by Tom Greggan
Ashton Education Glossop News Tameside

A mother from Glossop has travelled to Uganda this month to continue her late son’s legacy and charity work.

James Haggerty, a former Ashton Sixth Form pupil, had just turned 20 when he tragically died in a moped accident in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, in 2014.

The year before, he’d been handpicked by the college to travel to Uganda with the Altrincham Baptist Church to carry out charity work at the Nile Vocational Institute in the town of Jinja.

He made a video called ‘Stick in the Ground’, which he sold copies of to raise money.

Ever since James’ passing, his parents, Geoff and Julie, have dreamed of travelling to Uganda to meet the people whose lives were touched by James and to see the legacy he left.

After years of saving, Julie finally set off for Africa last Monday, February 11th, with a contingent from the church.

James became friends with Solomon.

“I wanted to do this in my son’s memory,” she said. “I was so proud of him visiting Uganda and putting so many people first. I wanted to visit the house that he helped build, the museum where his plaque hangs and the children’s orphanage.”

When James travelled to Uganda, he befriended a young boy named Solomon, who now, aged eight, lives in a boarding school close to Jinja.

Geoff and Julie also sponsored the 500th Ugandan student at the Nile Vocational Institute. In a divine twist of fate, that student’s name is James. He graduated from the Institute this year and is now working as a mechanic.

Julie added: “I have arranged to meet James Julius and Solomon and I’m so excited by this, as well as to meet all the other students that James had helped.”

Unfortunately, Geoff couldn’t travel this year for medical reasons, but plans to follow in his son and wife’s footsteps next year.

Geoff said: “Since James has gone, it has been our dream. A lot of people over there remember James. It’s been hard since he passed away but because we’ve had the relationship the Nile Vocational Institute and the Altrincham Baptist Church, it has kept us connected together.

“The saying is that the Ugandan people will give you 9/10th of nothing. They call it the Pearl of Africa and it’s a fantastic place.”

James, who was studying media at Salford University when he died, has an annual award in his name at Ashton Sixth Form, where he is fondly remembered.