PHOTOS: 101-year-old B.C. veteran completes 101 laps, raises nearly $150,000 for charity

John Hillman completed his 101st lap for charity to the sound of applause and bagpipes outside the Carlton House retirement home. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman, 101, took a sip of scotch, courtesy of a fellow Carlton House resident, after completing his laps for charity. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman, 101, completed his 101st lap for charity on May 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman took a victory lap after thanking the crowd for supporting his endeavour and helping him raise nearly $150,000 for charity. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman, 101, completed his 101st lap for charity on May 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman toasted the crowd with a sip of scotch, courtesy of a fellow Carlton House resident, after completing his laps for charity. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
John Hillman, 101, completed his 101st lap for charity on May 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
A large crowd gathered to watch 101-year-old veteran John Hillman complete his 101st lap for charity on Saturday. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

The Saturday morning rain held off just long enough for 101-year-old Oak Bay resident John Hillman to complete his 101st lap for charity.

The Second World War veteran began his multi-lap march around the courtyard of the Carlton House retirement home on May 4. Hillman pledged to do 101 laps to raise $101,000 for Save the Children, Canada’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

He was inspired by Capt. Tom Moore of England, who did 100 laps of his garden to raise money for NHS Charities Together that supports hospitals in the U.K. Both veterans were also awarded the Burma Star medal for their service.

READ ALSO: 101-year-old Oak Bay resident doing 101 laps for charity

Hillman surpassed his fundraising goal by May 12 and by the time he completed his last lap, he’d raised nearly $150,000.

On May 16, Carlton House residents, members of the Oak Bay community, military personnel and emergency crews filled the courtyard – while practicing social distancing – to watch the centenarian complete his final six laps. Hillman marched around the courtyard to the sound of applause and bagpipes – courtesy of David Martin, a member of the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band.

Hillman said he felt like “jumping over the moon” when he saw the crowd that had gathered to cheer him on. He added that the rain stayed away for his last laps thanks to “the angels on his shoulder.”

The crowd whooped and cheered as Hillman rounded the corner for his last lap. Members of the military stood in salute as the veteran passed by and he returned the gesture.

READ ALSO: Hillman hits 95 laps on penultimate day, will hit lap 101 Saturday

Upon completion of the 101 laps, Hillman was ready for a little rest. He sat to watch while local musician Stephanie Greaves serenaded him with songs from the Second World War era. Greaves was honoured to sing for Hillman as she’s known him for many years and wanted to help celebrate his achievement.

Philippe Couveignes, executive director of Carlton House, said staff weren’t worried about Hillman being physically able to complete 101 laps despite his age.

“He’s very independent,” he said, noting that Hillman practiced before starting the official laps by doing 10 laps a day.

Couveignes added that Hillman’s bright personality helped his cause grow.

READ ALSO: Pandemic brings success to Indigenous artist carving COVID masks

After Greaves’ finished her songs, Hillman thanked everyone for supporting his endeavour.

“I was determined to complete [101 laps] whether we made the target or not,” he said. “But we exceeded the target tremendously and I’m so appreciative of the response. You’ve shown such generosity to my cause – I just could not hope for anything more.”

After addressing the crowd, Hillman took a victory lap before toasting his supporters with a few sips of scotch – a gift from a fellow Carlton House resident.

“I knew I could do it and I’ve done it,” he said beaming with pride. “I feel on top of the world.”

Hillman felt he could do a few more laps but said he’d take a rest and maybe even sleep in the next morning.

Hillman’s online fundraiser will remain open until the end of the month. To donate, visit canadahelps.org.

– With files from Travis Paterson.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

charityoak bayVeterans

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Operation Refugees says family stuck in Lebanon with no flights, ‘but at least they’re safe’

‘Good news:’ Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read