91-year-old veteran completes 40-MILE walking challenge to raise funds for armed forces

The great-grandfather served with the 12th Yorkshire Parachute Battalion from 1950 - but had his career cut short seven years later after a parachute malfunction

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A 91-year-old veteran has completed a 40-mile walking challenge to raise funds for two armed forces charities.

Despite undergoing treatment for cancer and suffering back pain from an accident in the forces, Yorkshireman Jeffrey Long MBE was determined to make it to the finish line to keep the plight of the armed forces community at the forefront of people's minds.

The great-grandfather served with the 12th Yorkshire Parachute Battalion from 1950 - but had his career cut short seven years later after a parachute malfunction.

Jeffrey told GB News: “When I went in the paras I was 19. Unfortunately we used to jump with one parachute, so if the chute failed, you were dead unless a miracle happened.

“Well, mine didn’t fail completely. It was a partial failure and I dropped 500ft, so that was the end of my time in the Army and I was sent off with a small pension, unfit for further service.”

Ever since his retirement, Jeffrey has supported the armed forces community and other worthy causes and has single-handedly raised more than £300,000 for charity over the past 15 years.

The former para was appointed MBE in 2010 for his voluntary services and has completed dozens of charity hikes, including walking 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland wearing a 30kg backpack.

Jeffrey began his most recent challenge in November, clocking up the miles in West Yorkshire, before walking the final mile to the Cenotaph in Bradford this week in aid of the Royal British Legion and Support Our Paras charity.

Speaking to GB News at the Cenotaph, Jeffrey said: “People just say, that was another world you know, it didn’t happen to us, but without the veterans we would be in a real mess.

“This one [the most recent challenge] is just a 40-mile walk, because I’m suffering at the moment with my leg and my back.

“Normally I do 15 miles a day no problem, but I was rushed into hospital just a year ago and when I came out, I was all wobbly, I don’t know why and I was falling a bit.

“That’s why I’ve got a stick. The stick they said would help me, but it doesn’t really, I can’t keep up with it.

“I’m very proud of my time as a paratrooper, and this is just my way of giving something back.”

The former para was appointed MBE in 2010 for his voluntary services and has completed dozens of charity hikes, including walking 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland wearing a 30kg backpack.
The former para was appointed MBE in 2010 for his voluntary services and has completed dozens of charity hikes, including walking 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland wearing a 30kg backpack.

The Royal British Legion is the nation's biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families.

The charity champions Remembrance and is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem the red poppy.

Gillian Carr is a Community Fundraiser for Royal British Legion and is thankful for the money Jeffrey has raised.

She told GB News: “I think Jeffrey is absolutely amazing and he’s one of our most remarkable fundraisers.

“He’s dedicated all his retirement really to helping the armed forces community and his dedication and commitment is second to none.”

To support Jeffrey by donating to his Just Giving page visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jeffreylong