An 89-year-old RAF veteran dubbed Roller John, inspired by late Captain Sir Tom Moore, is raising money for hungry children and families by completing laps of his courtyard on roller skates. John Wilcock from Warwickshire will skate a lap twice a week, completing 90 laps of the car park in total outside his home, covering a total of 3.5 miles before his 90th birthday on January 21 next year. John was inspired by Sir Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford, from Manchester United. Marcus had highlighted concerns over free school meals, which is close to John’s heart and was grateful to receive as a child as his family was “a bit strapped,” reports Daily Mail.
Originally, the challenge which he started on March 9 — his 64th wedding anniversary — was aimed to raise £500 but now it has collected a staggering amount of £27,000.
“Along comes Sir Tom, with his trolley, and I thought, with my wife’s roller, I’ll be able to skate!” John added he had calculated that if he does two laps a week, he will complete 90 laps before his 90th birthday. Captain Tom Moore, World War 11 veteran, had completed 100 laps for his 100th birthday on April 30, 2020.
As per Daily Mail, John has been skating since he was 19 in the Royal Air Force while stationed in Cromer, Norfolk. Recalling old memories, he shared about learning to dance on skates on a roller skating rink.
The charity for which John is fundraising is FareShare that helps to feed hungry children and families by re-distributing food that usually gets thrown in a landfill.
He revealed as the eldest child in a family of seven in a mining community in south Lancashire, he knows what it is like to go to school hungry. He recalls how he was grateful for free school dinners as their family was a “bit strapped” and he knows from experience what it was like to go to school empty stomach.
He regularly posts the updates on his JustGiving page, according to which John can walk well without help but he is a bit out of practice on roller skates.