‘I feel like jumping over the moon:’ 101-year-old WWII veteran John Hillman walks 101 laps, raises more than $140,000

'I feel like jumping over the moon:' 101-year-old WWII veteran John Hillman walks 101 laps, raises more than $140,000
Watch101-year-old John Hillman finishes his fundraising journey, raises more than $140,000

One of Victoria’s favourite 101-year old heroes, John Hillman, can now take a break.

As bagpipes played, crowds cheered and singers sang, the Second World War veteran finished his fundraising journey by walking 101 laps of the courtyard at the Carlton House in Oak Bay on Saturday.

“Indescribable. I feel like jumping over the moon,” exclaimed Hillman.

RELATED: A sit-down with 101-year-old John Hillman before the finish line

Hillman’s first step was on May 4 with a goal of walking a total of 101 laps, approximately five each day, to raise $101,000 for the Children Canada’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“I feel I’ve done a little bit towards the situation,” said Hillman. “I’m a little overawed about it because I’m a serviceman from the war. I served the whole of the six years of the war, and I had to do that whether I wanted or not.”

This walk, however, was something he wanted to do, and he smashed his goal.

Just five days in, Hillman hit the $101,000 mark.

As of Saturday, Hillman raised more than $140,000 in less than two weeks.

“It’s just amazing, but knowing John, he was going to make it one way or another,” declared Hillman’s friend, Ken Ainslie

“He’s a determined man. We’re all so proud of him.”

With every step, ripples of inspiration reached thousands of people, spreading further than he could ever expect.

RELATED: Oak Bay 101-year-old honoured on VE Day, nears 101-lap fundraising goal

Renowned Victoria singer Stephanie Greaves came down for the finale, to sing songs in honour of John.

“The people of Oak Bay and Greater Victoria and even beyond have really joined hands in supporting him. Whether he raised money or not, it would be a recognizable act,” said Greaves.

“I think it shows the power of character, and the power of belief in a persons system can really bring us together. To raise funds as easily as he’s done at his age, at 101-years-old? Are you kidding me? That’s quite a treat.”

A veteran of the Second World War, Hillman served in the Burma Campaign. He also served in France, Italy and Africa.

His fundraiser was inspired by Capt. Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British Secord World War veteran who also served in Burma. Moore raised more than £32 million after he began walking around the garden of his home in an effort to raise money for Britain’s healthcare workers.

So what’s next for Hillman?

“I’m going to have a little rest,” he said. “I’ve just had a scotch, which was quite delightful and I’m on top of the world.”

“I have done it, and I’m very proud of having done it. I could do some more,” laughed 101-year-old.

More than the money he raised, the Island might have just found a different kind of treasure, in Hillman.

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

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


Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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