July 24th, 2024

B.C. war veteran John Hillman, dead at 105, raised thousands for children’s charity

By The Canadian Press on July 10, 2024.

Second World War veteran John Hillman, shown in a handout photo, raises his hands in triumph after completing 104 laps of his Victoria, B.C., retirement home as part of an annual fundraising walk for Save the Children, one lap for each year of his life. Hillman died Monday at the age of 105. THE CANADIAN PRESS /HO

OAK BAY – Second World War veteran John Hillman, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity in the last years of his life, died Monday at the age of 105.

In 2020, Hillman gained widespread attention for his fundraising efforts for Save the Children Canada’s COVID relief fund, raising $169,000 while walking around the courtyard of his Oak Bay retirement home.

Save the Children Canada says Hillman’s annual walkabouts raised more than $440,000, and the charity’s president Danny Glenwright says Hillman remains an inspiration for his commitment to help children affected by war, conflict and climate change.

Glenwright says he first met Hillman in 2022 and was struck by his sharp mind at such an advanced age, concluding Hillman was not a “typical centenarian.”

Hillman’s charity walks, beginning when he turned 101, saw the veteran pushing his walker around the courtyard of Carlton House retirement home, one lap for each year of his life.

Glenright says Hillman was focused on making each year “bigger than ever” to raise awareness and more funds for children suffering throughout the world, and he cherished video messages the charity shared with him from children who benefited from his fundraising efforts.

“He just really seemed like he was going to go on forever, so we were surprised and shocked and, and saddened by the news,” Glenright said. “John was just such an incredible champion of our work at Save the Children and of children around the world, especially children in crisis.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

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