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VIDEO: Donations lag as 102-year-old veteran laps Oak Bay courtyard for cause

John Hillman set to take his last laps Thursday morning

Extreme heat and the death of his wife have minimally hampered John Hillman’s attempt to lap his seniors residence courtyard 102 times.

The 102-year-old veteran walks 10 laps a day at Carlton House in Oak Bay. He does it to fanfare from both fellow residents, and those driving by who honk in support. Originally slated to finish July 6, he adjusted his goals, walking 11 laps at 11 a.m. each day to hit the mark by Thursday, July 8.

Hillman did a similar walk last year, inspired by Capt. Tom Moore – in Hillman’s native England – who did 100 laps of his garden and raised nearly $150,000 for charity.

Hillman walked 101 laps – his age – in 2020 also raising nearly $150,000.

RELATED: Oak Bay 102-year-old veteran to walk 102 laps for Save the Children

After learning Moore died, attributed to COVID-19, Hillman decided to repeat the event.

Heat kept laps limited the first day and Hillman did briefly consider stopping after the death of his wife, Irene, on July 3. The couple was married more than 79 years when she died at 100 years old. He visited as frequently as possible ahead of the walk, so continued his fundraiser.

“I had a decision to make and I decided that I had seen her, I’d been with her so much, I decided to continue with the charity.”

Tuesday morning, Kenny Podmore of Sidney, a member of the Saanich Peninsula Legion, took a couple laps alongside Hillman. The two men met last year on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when Podmore presented Hillman with memorial pins. This year Podmore dropped off a cheque for the cause for $102.

Hillman targeted a lofty $102,000 goal for Save the Children this year. In what he calls a sign of the times, his fundraiser was just shy of $15,000 as of Tuesday. The donations continued however, many of the $102 denomination, with the largest a cool $1,000.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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