CHEK Upside: 101-year-old war veteran hits the pavement to raise $101,000 for kids

WatchOne hundred-and-one-year-old John Hillman started his 101 laps around the Carlton House courtyard Monday to raise money for children's charity. April Lawrence reports.

One-hundred-and-one-year-old John Hillman is pretty popular among the residents of Oak Bay’s Carlton House.

“He’s got stamina, purpose, he’s an excellent guy,” said resident Sarah Doughty.

“He’s a great guy, tremendous sense of humour and just fun to be around,” said resident Ken Ainslie.

But Hillman isn’t just a funny guy with a warm smile, he also has a heart of gold.

“He’s always given back to whatever he belonged to,” said daughter Lynn Mcdiarmid.

And that’s why, beginning Monday, Hillman will be walking 101 laps around the Carlton house courtyard to raise money for children in need.

“I get very emotional about some of the circumstances of those children,” said Hillman.

When the Second World War veteran saw Captain Tom Moore from the United Kingdom doing a birthday walk to raise money for charity, he was inspired.

So with his fellow residents and family cheering him on, Hillman has started stepping his way toward his goal of raising $101,000 for Save the Children Canada’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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

“He’s game for it, we’ll be around to support him in any way we need to, but I think he’ll do it,” said Carlton House Board Member Seona Stephen.

He’ll be doing five laps a day for the next 20 days, rain or shine. But don’t think the five lap limit was his idea.

“I got out and I practiced at least five times around every day, and I have been practicing every day,” Hillman said. “I’ve done ten times some days as well, so I’m not afraid of the distance.”

And that might not be surprising considering Hillman only quit golfing and driving at the age of 99, not to mention surviving the war. He says he simply considers himself lucky.

“I was shot at and bombed on, and I didn’t get a scratch, and I lived through it beautifully,” he said.  “I always thought during the war I had an angel sitting on each shoulder and looking after me.”

And with those angels, some determination, and incredible fitness, Hillman breezes through the first five laps.

“I’d do another lap! Another five!” he told the crowd once he finished.

Hillman will be back out in the Carlton House courtyard for another five laps Tuesday. He says he will go as long as he has to to reach his fundraising goal.

You can watch Hillman complete his laps each day on the Carlton House Facebook page.

You can find his fundraiser here.

April Lawrence

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