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104-year-old Ruth's fundraising reaches £23,000

Newbury resident is walking 104 laps to raise vital funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

A 104-YEAR-OLD woman from Shaw, who is following in the footsteps of Captain Sir Tom Moore by walking 104 laps of the roads around her home, has now raised more than £23,000.

Donations to Ruth Saunders fundraising page went up by £3,000 in a week after the Newbury Weekly News ran her story on the front page two weeks ago.

The story has now been picked up by a number of national newspapers and Mrs Saunders has also made numerous television and radio appearances.

Just as it did with Captain Tom, her story has gripped the hearts of a nation and as a result donations have been flooding in in recent days.

As this article was published today (Wednesday), Mrs Saunders had raised more than £23,000.

Mrs Saunders has been inspired by Sir Tom, who famously raised £32m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his patio in the days leading up to his 100th birthday – an achievement which also earned him a knighthood.

But our local centenarian is not looking for honours and is instead focusing on raising as much money as she can for her chosen charity, the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Mrs Saunders, who was born in Shaw in 1916 and has lived in the Newbury and Reading areas all of her life, said: “You could say that Captain Tom is my role model.

“I saw what he did in the paper and just thought that if he could do it, so could I, even though I am four years older.”

Like Captain Tom, Mrs Saunders is using her age to set a target for the number of laps she completes.

She is attempting 104 walks, each one covering a fifth of a mile - a total of nearly 21 miles.

She has already completed more than 90 walks and is trying to squeeze in as many as three a day because she wants to finish the challenge before winter sets in.

However she said that, depending on how she feels, she may then decide to do an extra 26 walks to make up the official marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance chief executive Amanda McLean said: “Ruth is an inspiration to us all.

“As a charity, Thames Valley Air Ambulance relies solely on the amazing fundraising efforts of people like Ruth so that we can provide our lifesaving services to the most critically ill and injured people.

“We are so lucky to have such a passionate and awe-inspiring supporter.”

If you would like to help boost Mrs Saunders' fundraising, you can donate online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruthsaunders104

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