86-year-old ex-Para to walk 100 miles for military charities

Jeffrey Long

To mark the RAF’s centenary and continue his 11-year tradition of raising funds for military charities, ex-Paratrooper Jeffrey Long will walk 100 miles for 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The 86-year-old plans to walk 10 miles at 10 different RAF stations, in tribute to the service’s 100th birthday and raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund and Support Our Paras. He will begin his walk on 16 September at Catterick, the home of the Paras, before heading off to 10 RAF stations before a grand finale at RAF Odiham.

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 Paras’ charity, of course.”

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

This year, Just Giving have shortlisted Jeffrey for the Endurance Fundraiser of the Year Award, voted for by the public. You can vote for Jeffery at Just Giving.

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 walk

Jeffrey’s itinerary (subject to change):

RAF Leeming – Sunday 16 September

RAF Scampton – Monday 17 September

RAF Waddington – Tuesday 18 September

RAF College Cranwell – Wednesday 19 September

RAF Coningsby – Thursday 20 September

RAF Marham – Friday 21 September

RAF Wittering– Saturday 22 September

RAF Honington – Sunday 23 September

RAF High Wycombe – Monday 24 September

Netheravon – Tuesday 25 September

RAF Odiham – Tuesday 25 September

Image: Jeffrey Long with the Mayor of Bradford Councillor Zafar Ali. Photo: Mike Simmonds

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