CHEK Upside: 101-year-old Oak Bay World War II veteran to raise money by walking around his courtyard 101 times

Chek
Watch101-year-old World War II veteran in Oak Bay is taking on a walking challenge to raise money for children amid the pandemic.

At the age of 101, John Hillman of Oak Bay is gearing up for a new challenge.

Starting on Monday, the Second World War veteran and Burma Star holder will walk five laps a day around the courtyard of his home until he reaches the 101 mark.

It’s all part of his goal to raise $101,000 for Save the Children Canada’s emergency COVID-19 fund.

“I’m very excited about the whole thing, I’ve become more and more excited as the days have gone by,” said Hillman.

Hillman says he was inspired by fellow comrade, 99-year-old Tom Moore of the United Kingdom, after he saw the fellow war veteran on the news sporting a military metal that looked a little familiar.

“I’ve sort of seen this Captain Tom in England, I noticed he was wearing Burma Star. Being a Burma Star holder myself, I became very interested. The fact that he’s done so well inspired me to do something also,” explained Hillman.

Moore ended up raising more than £32 million after he began walking around the garden of his home in an effort to raise £1,000 for the Britain’s healthcare system workers by April 30, which was his hundredth birthday.

Hillman lives in the Carlton House in Oak Bay, and board member Seona Stephen said she is not surprised he took on this new challenge.

“That’s just John, he’s just a unique individual. He’s served his country he still continues to serve and this is another way that he is serving the community,” said Stephen.

Carlton staff and residents will line the courtyard every day – physically distanced – to cheer Hillman on.

The public can also cheer on Hillman as his walks will be livecast every day at 11 a.m. on the Carlton House Facebook page.

“I can continue walking as long as I have to, as long as I am able to. If my legs give out then I’ll have to stop, but in the meantime, I intend to go ahead,” promised Hillman.

And now, the veteran is inspiring others in more ways than one.

“He’s such a capable, vibrant person. He was on the Welsh fencing team, he served overseas and he’s always looking for ways to serve his community,” said Hillman’s granddaughter Marney McDiarmid.

Even at 101-years-old, Hillman is taking full advantage of technology to keep in touch with family across the world.

“It’s amazing that he’s 101 and can still do Skype,” said McDiarmid’s 9-year-old son, John’s great-grandson, who lives in Ontario with his family.

And from across the country, his family will be cheering him on.

Donations can also be made by visiting Hillman’s fundraising page.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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