There’s no keeping 91-year-old John Cottrell from Falmouth down. Earlier this year he set himself a challenge to walk 100 miles before his 92nd birthday and yesterday (Thursday 4th November) despite a fall in the summer, he successfully completed his mission. He also hopes to have raised thousands of pounds for Cornish healthcare charity Cornwall Hospice Care.
John is a founder member and ex-treasurer of the charity’s Falmouth Fundraising Group, which was set up over 30 years ago. He’s well known in Falmouth, having been the Bank Manager for Nat West before he retired. John began his 100 mile walk in August, taking a 2-mile route from his home in Trelawny House, up Melville Road along the seafront to Gyllyngvase beach and back, exactly 2 miles. His target was to complete his challenge before his 92nd birthday on 26th December 2021.
Sadly, towards the end of August, John suffered a fall and had to be admitted to hospital, but that didn’t stop him! Once he’d got back on his feet, his physiotherapist measured a 100-foot distance within the hospital which he then walked, keeping tally as he completed each length. He totted up 6 miles, which then took him to 51 miles in total. Much improved and back home, John decided to do the remainder of his miles on a more level one mile route, from his home to The Moor.
Yesterday John completed his final mile and was joined by Falmouth Fundraising Group members Christine and Clive Morris, Monica Smith (Chair) and Gill Lightfoot, along with the Groups Coordinator Angela Flamank and the Manager at Trelawny House Carol Jane. He reached the pink Cornwall Hospice Care finish arch at The Moor to rapturous applause from members of the Cornwall Hospice Care Fundraising Team, friends from John’s ‘church family’ and his daughter Angela.
John was asked what motivated him; “Well I had to do something after all that time couped up at home. With all that’s happened in the last 18 months, I thought what could I do to help? We always organised lots of events but we couldn’t do any of that, so I just thought well what could I do to make up in some way for the money that the hospices have lost.”
He says he’s loved every minute; “I’ve had wonderful support all the way along from the members of the group and from my church. The worse moment was having my fall and then being in hospital, although the doctors and nurses were all amazing and were so kind and helpful and even put some money in my collection tin!”
John acknowledged everyone at the finish line saying; “Thank you for all the kind wishes. I’ve managed it and I do hope that it’s raised a worthwhile sum for the hospices. Thank you all very, very much!” He was then congratulated by Monica Smith, Chair of the Cornwall Hospice Care Falmouth Fundraising Group; “Well done John – we’re proud of you, so very, very proud.”
When asked what his plans were for the rest of the day, his daughter Angela stepped in and said they were going home to enjoy a cup of tea together, or maybe even a gin and tonic, which John is quite partial to!
You can still sponsor John through his online giving page HERE and you can watch a flavour of his final mile below.