'This is for you James, we love you': Friends touching tribute to NI man in famous New York park

James Wilson enjoyed a once in a lifetime trip to New York earlier this year
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

The friends of a Northern Ireland man who passed away earlier this month are creating a touching tribute to mark the place he enjoyed his last holiday.

James Wilson was diagnosed with cancer on March 31, 2024, and passed away on June 15 aged just 29 years old. At the beginning of this year, he enjoyed a holiday to New York with his fiancé Meghan and friends Ryan and Shannon - little did he know that would be his last trip abroad.

On a walk around the famous Central Park, the Belfast man was blown away by the touching tributes left on plaques on park benches in memory of those who loved the park and have since passed away. After his untimely death, James' friends grouped together to raise enough money to create one of these tributes in his name.

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A GoFundMe page to raise the £8,000 needed to create this special tribute has passed its target.. James' friend Shannon Carberry told Belfast Live: "We are so sad that at such a young age James had to go and we were robbed of future good memories.

"He was truly one of the nicest, softest gentlemen ever, and it really shows in the GoFundMe how loved he was, and how highly he was thought after. This is for you James, we love you."

In a piece written by James' friends from his perspective, they stated he had his whole life ahead of him, with party plans for his 30th birthday, plans of marriage to his "doting partner", and lots of travel plans all underway.

James Wilson in New York's Central Park where a plaque in his memory will be unveiled
James Wilson in New York's Central Park where a plaque in his memory will be unveiled -Credit:Submitted

It reads: "I loved my life and I did not want to go. In a short three months, everything was stripped from me and sadly I was taken from my loved ones by a tragic disease.

"At the beginning of the year until known my very last holiday, myself, fiancé Meghan, and friends Ryan and Shannon travelled to New York for a once in a lifetime trip. We spent a magical week exploring all the big apple has to offer.

"A memorable attraction for us all included visiting Central Park. For those who may not know, Central Park has beautiful benches located throughout with plaques of celebrations and memorials.

James Wilson died on June 15 after a three month battle with cancer
James Wilson died on June 15 after a three month battle with cancer -Credit:Submitted

"This truly was a memorable location for us all but particularly for me and my beautiful fiancé - we walked through the snow linking arms together and reading bench by bench the heart touching dedications. So much so we cried with how beautiful they were and forever state this was a memory dear to our hearts."

A funeral notice for James reads: "James Daniel Wilson, passed away 15th June 2024. Much-loved Fiancé of Meghan, beloved son of Clive and Joanne and adored big brother of Evie."

James' fiancé Meghan will receive the funds raised for the plaque directly, with updates provided on getting the plaque installed on a bench in Central Park in due course. You can view the GoFundMe page by clicking here.

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