Tuesday 22 October 2019

‘It’s a bizarre thing I’m doing’ - Irish man begins hitchhike journey around Scotland to raise funds for young girl with cancer 

Diarmuid McCleary (26) will embark on a journey around Scotland to raise money for Robyn's Life fund.
Diarmuid McCleary (26) will embark on a journey around Scotland to raise money for Robyn's Life fund.
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

A young Irish man will begins his journey around Scotland today with only a microwave in hand to raise funds for a 13-year-old girl with cancer.

Diarmuid McCleary (26) made headlines in April after he decided to make his way around Ireland by hitchhiking with a microwave, in aid of mental health charity Jigsaw.

Now, the former DIT student is taking ‘The Microwave Express’ around Scotland to raise money for the Robyn’s Life fund.

Robyn Smyth (13) has fought neuroblastoma four times since she was first diagnosed in 2007, and Robyn’s Life was set up to raise money for her treatment.

Diarmuid came across Robyn’s appeal shortly after he finished the last trip, and decided he wanted to help.

“Someone tagged me in a post about a mother fundraising for her daughter, and I said I’d do another tour with the microwave. Robyn’s mother was lovely, she sent me a t-shirt and wished me luck,” Diarmuid told Independent.ie.

The microwave idea came to the former DIT student's union member after reading about a man called Tony Hawks, who hitchhiked around Ireland in 1999 with a fridge.

As for why he chose Scotland this time around, Diarmuid put it down to “notions”.

“I don’t know why, I get notions sometimes, but hopefully it will put a smile on people’s faces,” he said.

“Scotland is also said to be quite similar to Ireland. It’s such a bizarre thing I’m doing and some other countries are a bit more serious so they mightn’t get the idea.”

The trip is expected to last around 10 days, and Diarmuid isn’t even bringing his bank card with him.

“I’ll be taking four or five lifts a day, the big problem is walking to main roads. It’s harder in the city because people aren’t as willing to give lifts.

“The journey starts as soon as I get on the ferry, I’ll have no bank card or anything. It was important to me to make it a big challenge, to get people to donate it has to be as hard as possible.”

And the trip may well be a difficult one with the potential arrival of Storm Helene early next week, but Diarmuid has all received offers of transport and accommodation from members of the public.

“Some people, usually students, drive by and stop for me, and the only reason they stop is because they can’t figure out why that guy has a microwave,” he explained.

“There could be a big storm coming but since I’ve posted about it I’ve started to get more offers, like the ferry company offering me a free trip and a pub offering to collect me. 

“I’ve got the first half of the country pretty well sorted but it’s the Highlands I’m finding difficult.”

More information on The Microwave Express journey and Robyn's Life fund can be found here and here.

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