86-Year-Old Veteran Who Walked 86 Miles For Charity Recognised By PM

Jeffrey Long raised more than £120,000 for The Royal British Legion in 2017 when his sponsored walk went viral...

An 86-year-old veteran who walked 86 miles for charity has been recognised by the Prime Minister.

Jeffrey Long, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, raised more than £120,000 for The Royal British Legion in 2017 when his sponsored walk went viral.

"In my mind I feel 38 - when I put combat gear and my boots on I feel 25," he told Forces News.

The former paratrooper's fundraising campaign was given a boost after comedian Jason Manford posted a link to his JustGiving page.

The attention resulted in his total going from £300 to £75,000 within 24 hours, eventually reaching beyond £120,000.

Mr Long is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

In a personal letter to Mr Long, Theresa May said: "The story of your fundraising for The Royal British Legion has inspired millions of people online, and you should be incredibly proud of raising over £120,000 by walking 86 miles on your 86th birthday.

"Your long-serving support of armed forces charities is helping thousands of veterans across the country, and your latest efforts have encouraged new generations to remember those who have given their lives whilst serving our country."

In 2010, Mr Long was made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace (Picture: PA).

Mr Long said: "I'm honoured to be chosen for this award and delighted that the Government is recognising the efforts of volunteers around the country.

"Of course, there are many other people who support my fundraising and I'm very grateful to them.

"I'm passionate about the causes I support, especially the military charities given my background with the Paras.

"I don't intend to give up fundraising in the foreseeable future."

Mr Long finished the trek along the Thames path two weeks after his 86th birthday.

As well as raising funds for the Poppy Appeal, he also collected for Support our Para, a charity which supports his former regiment 12th Yorkshire Parachute Battalion.

Mr Long has an MBE for his charity work, which began more than 10 years ago with a 650-mile hike to Switzerland.

This was his third consecutive birthday walk, after he did 84 miles along Hadrian's Wall for his 84th and 85 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal for his 85th.

Cover picture courtesy of JustGiving.