VETERAN Yorkshire fundraiser Jeffrey Long MBE has reached the midway point of his walking challenge in aid of two armed forces charities.
Jeffrey, who turns 90 later this year, set off from Bradford City Hall on 10 March, to walk 190 miles in aid of The Royal British Legion (RBL) and Support Our Paras, The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity.
The former paratrooper from Bingley, who has single-handedly raised more than £300,000 for charity over the past 14 years, said: “It has been heavy going at times, due to a bad back and an ankle injury from my days as a para, so I’ve had to push myself at times. But it has been wonderful meeting so many friendly faces and supporters whilst out on my walk, and that has really helped to keep me going.”
Great-grandfather Jeffrey, who served with the Paras from 1952 to 1957, is walking a total of 190 miles - 100 for the Legion to mark their centenary, plus a further 90 for Support Our Paras.
Despite having daily chemotherapy and still suffering back pain from a training injury in 1954, Jeffrey is hiking around the hills above his beloved Bingley to clock up the miles for his latest challenge, and has so far raised more than £1,600. He is hoping to finish in time for the RBL’s centenary on 15 May.
Jeffrey began fundraising in 2007, when he walked 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland in 39 days, carrying a 30kg backpack, to raise money for the RBL.
Natalie Urbaniak, Fundraising and Communications Manager for Support Our Paras, said: “It’s wonderful to have Jeffrey supporting us and his Airborne brothers once again this year. Despite sustaining a back injury from a parachute malfunction in 1954 when he was serving with the 12th (Yorkshire) Parachute Battalion, Jeffrey has proven that he is still ‘ready for anything’ all these years later. He has overcome a lot with his health in recent years but is determined to carry on with his fundraising walks to help those in need.”
Tina Pringle, the Royal British Legion’s Community Fundraiser for West Yorkshire, said: “Jeffrey is one of our most remarkable fundraisers, and we are delighted to have his support. He has dedicated his retirement to raising money for our armed forces community so we hope that everyone gets behind his latest challenge.”