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Local hero walks to raise over £20,000 for hospice

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A98-year-old war veteran from Nunney, who pledged to walk 100m every day during lockdown for Dorothy House Hospice Care, has hot-footed past his £1,000 target, to raise over £20,000 for the local hospice.

Owen Hillier, who was awarded an MBE for his services to the community, started his challenge on Easter Sunday – a week  after his 98th birthday. In total he walked 13km and collected £20,058.96 with gift aid, in donations to his JustGiving page, and he still aims to continue walking on a daily basis.

Dorothy  House  has paid tribute to him, saying he is one of their incredible hospice heroes who have stepped up in a huge way to give their time to raising funds.

Owen told Frome Times, “The money raised by my walk is but a small token of the affection that we, as a family, hold for Dorothy House.”

A charity fundraiser  throughout his life. he took on the challenge when his daughter, Sue Edwards, told him about the hospice’s emergency appeal for funds. He walked in memory   of his grandson, James Eyres, who was killed in a car accident in 2007, but who was fundraising for Dorothy House at the time of his death. 

James’ family have been supporting the hospice ever since, as a tribute to James, and to continue the fundraising he began. So far, they’ve raised nearly £72,000. Sue said, “James would have been proud of his granddad.”

A Dorothy House Hospice Care spokesperson said, “We have enjoyed watching our own local hero take on this incredible challenge and surpass all expectations!

“There are tough times ahead for Dorothy House and other charities. That’s why support from our community – and inspirational people like Owen – are more important now, than ever before.”

In World War 11 Owen was a member of the Air Force Service police for Bomber Command in Kilmington. After that, he worked for Mendip District Council and until recently, was an active community volunteer with the  Friends of Frome Hospital and Frome Youth Club amongst other groups.

The link to his justgiving page is:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/susan-edwards27

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