About Billy

In February 1999 my only son Billy was drowned in Lake Malawi. He was just twenty five. He had visited the small African country on several occasions and had grown to love the country, its people and in particular the village of Cape Maclear. It was ironic that in his last letter to me he referred to Cape Maclear as “Paradise”. He lost his life in paradise less than 48 hours later.

One year later in February 2000 I travelled to Cape Maclear to place a memorial stone by the Lake in his memory. I spent three months there getting to know the villagers and their way of life.

I returned to the village five times over the next two and a half years spending some time teaching in the primary school. I wanted to identify a project to undertake in the village in Billy’s memory. An outbreak of cholera and continual deaths from malaria and simple childhood diseases very soon made me realise that a medical clinic in the village was not just necessary but essential. For these people medical treatment was almost non-existent. There was no clinic, doctor or nurse here and the nearest hospital is in Mangochi, a difficult four hour journey away. I decided to return to home which is Dingle, County Kerry in Ireland and try to raise the money to build a clinic in Cape Maclear.

The Billy Riordan Memorial Trust was formed and with the generosity of the community at home, and the local chief who donated the land for the Clinic, the original Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic was opened in 2004.

22 years later the clinic has expanded considerably and today it provides a wide range of medical services to the community. The staffing structure has altered. Working with our partners to provide a sustainable and secure future for the Billy Clinic is an ongoing challenge. My personal commitment to my work as CEO of the charity and to the maintenance of acceptable standards of best practice at the clinic continues as strongly as always.

Mags Riordan.


The sourcing and procurement of drugs continues to be both difficult and expensive in Malawi.

Patients presenting with Covid-19 symptoms have not, so far, been seen at the clinic. Social distancing, hand washing and community awareness campaigning is ongoing as we hope to avoid the virus.

With the ongoing drastic reduction of supply of electricity from the national grid, funded by Billys USA, we are solar powered in the clinic.