Jimmy's Story

At the point at which this story begins in 1933, Jimmy McIntyre was a miner and a family man. Married with one son and another on the way, Jimmy, along with other members of his family worked in the Lochore Mine in Fife. Like many others Jimmy was a proud man striving to provide the best he could for his family. As the depression began to bite in Scotland, shifts at the mine declined and many members of Jimmy’s family were unable to find work.

Jimmy's StoryJimmy, along with two of his brothers and three friends, having heard that there was work available in Kent, set off on the challenge of a lifetime. With little more than the clothes they stood up in, this intrepid band of workers reluctantly left their loved ones behind and set off on an epic trek from one end of the country to the other.

Although they had a sort of plan these brave miners were not really sure where they were going, how they would get there or if there were going to be any jobs when they got there.

They did know that the Kent coalfields were developing production due to the industrial coal being mined and that it seemed a good place to head for even if it was the furthest point in mainland UK. They left with little or nothing, no money for travel, no food as such and only the clothes they could carry. We do know that they were helped along the way by different communities with food and lodging and that the journey was very hard. Jimmy's Story

While growing up I listened to this story told by my Granny and Granddad a thousand times and although the details of the story may have varied from time to time the fact remains the same, Jimmy and his band of five walked and cycled their way to Kent where they all were lucky enough to secure jobs and eventually send for their families to make new lives in Kent. During the telling of the story, Jimmy liked to recount the tale of the group finding a bike in Newcastle which they “borrowed” to assist with their journey. Once in London the boys left the borrowed bike at a Police Station with a note requesting that it be returned to its rightful owners in Newcastle.

Jimmy went on to live a long and happy life. He had 7 children, 14 grandchildren and more great grandchildren than I can count. Throughout his life Jimmy was hard working, well-respected and a great champion for miners and families throughout his community. The struggles that he faced to provide for his family and the struggles that Belle is still facing have inspired me to try in a small way to emulate their qualities through following in Jimmy’s footsteps and walking from Fife to Kent in June and July 2013.

Jimmy had huge strength, a great sense of honesty and a strong belief in the value of family and community. I hope he would approve of what we are trying to achieve through this appeal which is to give those affected by cancer the chance of life.

Kind regards
Alistair McIntyre