Mon, 12 Oct 2020
A 104-year-old woman from Shaw is following in the footsteps of Captain Sir Tom Moore by walking 104 laps of the roads around her home.
Ruth 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 the 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.
She has already started clocking up the miles and is trying to squeeze in as many as three walks a day because she wants to finish the challenge before winter sets in.
Mrs Saunders, who was born in Shaw in 1916 and has lived in the Newbury and Reading areas all 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.
“I am not setting any cash targets. I just want to make as much as I can.”
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.
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.
Mrs Saunders, who was driving up until she was 102, said: “You have got to get yourself out and about.
“You can’t just sit at home and vegetate.
“That is not my style.
“I still do my gardening and plant my bulbs. I have always been active, all my life.”
She can still also still knit and sew and was for several years an exhibitor at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, demonstrating techniques with Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
Mrs Saunders, who has three sons, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, said she wanted to do something to help Thames Valley Air Ambulance “because they are wonderful people”.
Her long-time friend Sylvia House has set up a website for anybody wishing to sponsor Mrs Saunders.
Donations for any amount can be made online at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruthsaunders104