Great-grandfather's Captain Tom-style walk raises £4,500 for veterans
- Credit: David Sainsbury
A blind former Royal Engineer has marked his 63rd wedding anniversary by completing a Captain Tom-style challenge in Stowmarket - and raised nearly £4,500 for veterans in the process.
In February, 84-year-old great-grandfather Colin Hawkins set himself the task of walking 63 laps of the town's Recreation Ground to commemorate 63 years of marriage with his wife, Jean.
Having lost his eyesight last November and wanting to give back, Mr Hawkins decided to fundraise for Blind Veterans UK after the charity supported him with his condition.
Mr Hawkins completed the last lap of the walk on Monday and has raised £4,462 so far for the charity.
His daughter, Jill Sainsbury, has been escorting him through the park every day over the last few weeks.
Mrs Sainsbury previously said her father was "grieving for his eyesight" and was becoming "angry" after losing his full eyesight several months ago.
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She encouraged him to take up the challenge as a means of keeping fit and active and said it had been partly inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £30million for NHS Charities Together last year by walking in his garden.
Captain Sir Tom died at the age of 100 on February 2 after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus several days earlier.
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Mrs Sainsbury said the family shared an emotional moment when her father reached the end of the final lap.
She said: "It was wonderful - we both cried.
"Sixty-three laps doesn't sound like a lot, but walking with a blind person is quite hard. But it was great."
The fundraiser for the challenge on JustGiving has smashed its target of £3,500, with the money being used to support former Armed Forces personnel who are suffering with sight loss.
Mr Hawkins said he was grateful for everyone who had donated to the cause.
He said: "I'm much perkier because Jill has achieved her objective, which was to get her dad back.
"Before lockdown I was going to the gym every week. But the lockdowns have put paid to that.
"I'm now back to the fitness levels I was at 12 months ago.
"I owe everyone who has donated a big thank you. I can't thank people enough."