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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Former Grand Forks fire chief suing city for wrongful dismissal

Dale Heriot was fired in July 2019 after his department was investigated for safety, bullying issues

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary seeks online feedback on transit, housing

Surveys on the RDKB’s website are asking for input to help plan for the future

School District 51 staff iron out plan for return to classrooms

Teachers are looking for a comprehensive health and safety plan to be in place before June 1

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read