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86-year-old ex-Para walks 100 miles for military charities

This month ex-Paratrooper Jeffrey Long has been walking 100 miles to mark 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The 86-year-old Bingley veteran has been doing 10 miles at 10 different RAF stations, in tribute to the service's 100th birthday and to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund and Support Our Paras. He began his walk on 16 September at Catterick, the home of the Paras and his walk will end today at RAF Odiham.

Jeffrey Long walkingJeffrey Long walks with our very own Ben Elephant behind him. Photo: Crown Copyright

Jeffrey, who raised more than £120K last year, said: "The Paras have a relationship with the RAF, they are very good to us. They give us a flight then they show us the door! It made perfect sense to me to support this wonderful charity, in the year of the RAF's centenary as well as the Para's charity, of course."

Last year Jeffrey did an 86-mile walk in recognition of his own birthday, which went viral thanks to comedian Jason Manford retweeting his appeal. Jeffrey also received a lifetime membership from the Royal British Legion, who were the main beneficiary. The Prime Minister Theresa May also recognised Jeffery's incredible efforts with a Points of Light Award, congratulating him on his "long-serving support of Armed Forces charities".

Jeffrey's fundraising began 11 years ago when he walked 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland. Since then he has completed Liverpool to Leeds, Hadrian's Wall and the Three Peaks Challenge, to name but a few.

Jeffrey, who served in the Army from 1950 to 1957 before leaving due to injury, admits age had forced him to slow down in recent years, and he's not carrying the heavy packs he once did, but he remains as determined as ever to raise funds and awareness for the charities he loves.

Aaron Tillyer, regional fundraiser for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "Fundraisers like Jeffrey are truly inspirational. I'm bowled over by his enthusiasm to get out there and raise funds for charity.

"Supporters like Jeffrey are vital to see the welfare work the Fund carries out continue, without it we simply could not do what we do – ensuring no member of the RAF Family faces adversity alone."

Stephen Cooper, Director of Support our Paras, added: "We have known Jeffrey for some years at Support our Paras and he never fails to surprise us with his next charity challenge, all driven by the desire to help others less fortunate than himself. We take our hats off to you Jeffrey!"

To support Jeffrey's fundraising effort, please visit his Justgiving page.

Also, this year Just Giving have shortlisted Jeffrey for the Endurance Fundraiser of the Year Award, voted for by the public. To vote go to www.justgiving.com/awards/2018/vote.

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