BC veteran whose birthday tradition raised $460,000 for children dies at 105

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A centenarian and Canadian veteran known for his high-profile annual efforts to raise money for charity on Vancouver Island has died.

John Hillman made headlines every year when he walked laps around Carlton House in Oak Bay for ten days to celebrate his birthday and raise money.

Hillman ran one lap for every year he lived. In 2023, he circled the property 104 times.

All the money Hillman raised went to the Save the Children’s Emergency Fund. By the time of his final walk this year, Hillman had raised $460,000.

Staff at Carlton House confirmed Hillman passed away peacefully on Monday morning.

Click to play video: '104-year-old begins annual fundraising walk'

104-year-old begins annual fundraising walk

“We are all so grateful to have known John and called him our friend. He lived an incredible life in service to others, and it was truly the honor of a lifetime to help him do that,” Jacqueline Prewett, digital marketing manager of Carlton House, said in an email.

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“He will be missed by so many people, but we know his legacy will live on in the lives he touched and the positive change he brought to the world.”

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HIllman moved to Veterans Memorial Lodge in Victoria this year due to the need for more care.

He wasn’t able to complete his annual project, but he did take a tour around the grounds for tradition.

“My health is good, but my physical abilities are not as good as they used to be,” Hillman told Global News in March.

“So I walked one lap as a sign of the past. And I had about 50 people come and walk with me.

Hillman was inspired for the walks by English Captain Tom Moore, who was also a World War II veteran.

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Moore became a viral sensation during the COVID-19 pandemic as he walked laps around his backyard during lockdown to raise money for Britain’s National Health Service. “Captain Tom” wanted to raise £1,000, but ended up raising £33 million (C$40 million).

Prewett said Hillman’s fundraising page remains open and active, and that it was the veteran’s wish that people would continue to support his campaign for Save the Children beyond his lifetime.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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