A 91-year-old former railwayman has walked 40,000 metres to raise money for the world’s poorest people.
Former railway engineer Ron Morris knew that lockdown would prevent his South Beddington Church, St Michael and All Angels, from raising money through the usual door-to-door collections and church services and so pledged to walk 200 laps of 200 metres around the complex of almshouses where he lives.
Despite having fractured his femur last year, he made the marathon effort for Christian Aid Week, walking 40,000 metres and raising over £1,100.
After his mammoth effort, Ron said: “A year ago after I fractured my leg I couldn’t walk around the grounds once, let alone 200 times.
“I fell over on the 192nd lap when I bent down to pick up my pen. It gave me a bit of a shock, but I kept going and managed the 200.
“I have supported Christian Aid for years. I think it is important to care for our neighbours whether they are local or across the world.”
Christian Aid was founded after VE Day when people in churches across Britain and Ireland gave £80,000 – the equivalent of over £3 million today – to relieve the suffering of refugees across Europe.
Ron, who was 17 on VE Day and working in the drawing office at Southern Railway, said: “I actually don’t remember much about VE Day, but I can remember the day before, hoping we would have a day off work, and, on the evening of the day itself, my mother played in a dance band on the steps of Wallington Town Hall and I remember dancing.
“Before, during and after the war, communities were much more caring, they looked after each other and in recent years people haven’t even known their neighbours anymore.
“I think that post-virus might be more like post-war, people have been thrown back together because of coronavirus, even though we have had to stay apart.
“I have been fortunate and done some travelling in my life to places like South Africa and Kenya as well as Australia and New Zealand and it helps to bring home how we are all connected. That’s why Christian Aid is important to me because it does valuable work overseas helping the world’s poorest people.”
Christian Aid head of community fundraising and public engagement Chine McDonald said: “Ron’s story is an inspiration to us all. Lockdown means that Christian Aid Week cannot be a community celebration in the usual sense, where people go house to house collecting or gather for special services.
“But Ron shows us how community can still thrive and we can reach our neighbours whether they are near or far despite the circumstances.
“Covid-19 has underlined how we are all connected, all vulnerable. But in times of crisis the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalised are at the greatest risk and the pandemic threatens to push millions of people into extreme poverty, which makes support for Christian Aid even more urgent this year.”
St Michael and All Angels usually raises around £1,500 each year. To help Ron reach that target you can sponsor him via his fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ron-Morris