Somerset pensioners put in the hard yards in epic walks for charity.

A couple of inspirational pensioners from Somerset are setting the pace and an example with their respective fundraising efforts.

98 year-old Owen Hillier is walking 100 metres every day until the end of the lockdown for Dorothy House hospice care.

And Joanna Stevens has completed a marathon in her own back garden to raise funds for Save the Children's coronavirus appeal.

Dad has always done things for charity and the community and this was something he felt he could offer. He’s partially sighted but still pretty mobile. This is really up his street.

Susan Edwards, Owen's daughter

When I got an email from Save the Children about the terrible difficulties families are facing here in the UK as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, I knew I had to do something.

Joanna Stevens
  • OWEN HILLIER'S STORY

Taking a breather: 98-year-old Owen is walking 100m every day. Credit: Dorothy House

Owen, a World War 2 veteran from Nunney in Somerset, has already raised more than £2,750 and counting [Thurs, 16 April].

He started his challenge on Easter Sunday - one week after his birthday - when he heard about the hospice's appeal for emergency funds.

Owen has been awarded an MBE for his services to the community, and was a member of the air force service police for Bomber Command in Kilmington, East Devon.

Listen to what Owen has to say:

Mr Hillier's heroic efforts - and age - are very similar to those of Captain Tom Moore, who has completed 100 laps of his garden and raised more than £12m for NHS charities.

It will take Owen a lot longer, and a a great deal more walking, to raise anywhere near as many funds, but Dorothy House are certainly grateful for his ongoing contribution.

Owen is an inspiration! We are humbled by his commitment to ‘step up’ for the hospice at this time. WWII was an unprecedented time in our history and during this time he served his country; today, at another extraordinary time in history, his support will help us meet the needs of our community as we play our part to face this pandemic head on.

Wayne de Leeuw, Chief Executive at Dorothy House
  • JOANNA STEVENS' STORY

Joanna walked 234 laps of her garden during the Easter weekend heat. Credit: Save the Children

73-year-old grandmother of two Joanna Stevens, from West Bradley near Glastonbury, managed 234 laps of her Somerset garden in the hot Easter weekend weather.

Despite ‘dodgy knees’ and suffering from asthma, Mrs Stevens walked 16 miles on Good Friday and finished the remaining 10 miles by Saturday lunchtime.

She picked up a blister and raised more than £2,000 along the way.

I did think I was going to melt at times. The only injury was a big blister on the sole of my foot. I dealt with it and carried on walking - grabbing a few overgrown weeds en route. I did make one slight diversion though, which was via the freezer in the garage where I remembered there were some mini ice creams. I’m a mother and grandmother: I can multitask - walk and eat at the same time!

Joanna Stevens
56,160

The number of steps Joanna took to complete her challenge.

Joanna’s tenacity is inspiring and we’re really grateful that she set herself this challenge and completed it. Even before the Coronavirus outbreak, four million children lived in poverty in the UK and we can’t let this number rise.

Gemma Sherrington, Save the Children