Yorkshire veteran, 88, completes 88-mile walking challenge despite undergoing chemotherapy every day

Jeffrey Long MBE has clocked up thousands of miles - and a few famous fans - by taking on extreme walking challenges over the past 12 years in aid of good causes. Credit: SWNS
Jeffrey Long MBE has clocked up thousands of miles - and a few famous fans - by taking on extreme walking challenges over the past 12 years in aid of good causes. Credit: SWNS
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An 88-year-old ex-paratrooper who has single-handedly raised £300,000 for charity and earned celebrity admirers such as Jason Manford has competed another gruelling trek.

Jeffrey Long MBE has clocked up thousands of miles - and a few famous fans - by taking on extreme walking challenges over the past 12 years in aid of good causes.

Jeffrey Long MBE has clocked up thousands of miles - and a few famous fans - by taking on extreme walking challenges over the past 12 years in aid of good causes. Credit: SWNS

Jeffrey Long MBE has clocked up thousands of miles - and a few famous fans - by taking on extreme walking challenges over the past 12 years in aid of good causes. Credit: SWNS

The active great-grandfather first marched 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland while carrying a 30kg back pack to raise money for the Royal British Legion in 2007 - despite having never been much of a walker.

Since then, he has completed hikes for charity, including 84 miles along Hadrian's Wall, 86 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and 100 miles along the south coast.

His fundraising efforts went viral in 2017 when comedian Jason Manford appealed to his social media followers to donate to Jeffrey's JustGiving page - helping him raise more than £120,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Jeffrey's latest challenge saw him trek 88 miles to celebrate his 88th birthday and raise money for Child Bereavement UK, which supports youngsters who have lost a parent, and Pots of Gold, which provides grants for local charities.

The pensioner, who served in the parachute regiment from 1950-1957, walked between 10 and 14 miles a day around his hometown of Bingley to reach his target - despite undergoing daily chemotherapy because his body is producing too many red blood cells.

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Jeffrey said: "I picked up a leaflet and saw an appeal for donations to the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal in Bradford. The money raised by the appeal will go towards local groups and bereaved children.

"When I read how many children are left without parents at a young age, it really struck a chord. I didn't plan this one like I have my previous ones, it wasn't a set route from A to B, I would just walk between 10 and 14 miles a day with some friends.

"It has been different doing it this way, but interesting. I walked up to 14 miles each day, depending on what I could fit in."

Jeffrey, who still suffers back pain from a training exercise injury in 1954, hopes to raise £1,000 to be split between the charities.

He added: "I had never done a long distance walk before I was 75. But when I got into fundraising, I discovered all these charities that need help and I can't say no.

"I've done 15 now in 12 years. Next year I'm planning to cycle from London to Paris."

He has fit in his walks into his already busy schedule, which includes selling poppies in local stores in his military uniform, which he was worn in many of his previous charity walks.

He added: "The uniform makes you straighten up a bit more, it makes you feel different. It makes you feel like you're in service again and it gives you a boost.

"You feel like a younger person, still part of the regiment."

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The serial fundraiser went viral in 2017 when comedian Jason Manford appealed for donations to his fundraising page as he completed 86 miles from the Thames Barrier to Caversham in Reading.

Jeffrey had hoped to raise £1,000 for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, but his total at just £300 when he completed his walk.

Mancunian comic Manford, who recently starred in the BBC's sitcom Scarborough, urged his 1.5 million social media followers to help Jeffrey reach his target.

Donations flooded in from around the world and Jeffrey raised more than £120,000 for wounded ex-servicemen.

Last year, Jeffrey completed 100 miles to mark 100 years of the RAF and had raised just £25 for the force's benevolent fund.

But a Twitter appeal saw Manford again rally support for the ex-paratrooper and celebrities such as Al Murray, Iain lee and newsreader Alastair Stewart helped to swell the pot to £27,000 in just 24 hours.

Jeffrey was medically discharged from the army in 1957 and went on to run a textiles business and work as a personal assistant to a police commander in London.

He was awarded an MBE in 2010 for his voluntary service to the Royal British Legion.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May recognised his incredible efforts with a Points of Light Award, congratulating him on his "long-serving support of Armed Forces charities".

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jeffreylongcbuk to donate to his latest fundraising effort.