VETERAN fundraiser Jeffrey Long has raised nearly £1,700 so far after visiting 11 care homes and walking more than 100 miles in his latest effort for charity.

The 88-year-old Bingley former paratrooper has overcome injury and bad weather to achieve his latest feat, raising money for The Care Workers Charity to show his support for staff on the coronavirus frontline

Local care company Czajka Care Group welcomed him, from a safe social distance, at four of its five West Yorkshire care homes and nursing homes over the past couple of weeks.

Staff and residents from the family-run company gave Jeffery a rousing reception at its Currergate Nursing Home in Steeton, and also at its three Nab Wood homes - Brookfield Care Home, Fairmount Nursing Home and specialist nursing home Staveley Birkleas.

The latter cares for young people from the age of 18 through to 64, who have a variety of needs including amputees, people with brain injuries, multiple sclerosis (MS), motor neurone disease, Huntington’s, epilepsy and many other complex conditions.

Jeffrey, who has raised over £300,000 for charity over his fundraising career, has been walking to a different care home every day as part of an ambitious nine-day challenge named ‘Jeffrey’s Walk for Carers’. Jeffrey set himself this remarkable challenge despite sustaining a back injury in 1954 while serving in the Parachute Regiment.

He has raised £1,693 for The Care Workers’ Charity, a charity which provides current and former care workers with crisis grants.

Konrad Czajka, managing director of Czajka Care Group, said: “The charity has recently set up a Covid-19 Emergency Fund, to support care staff who have needed to self-isolate or shield due to the coronavirus and raised £2 million so far which is staggering achievement.

“Jeffrey’s admirable challenge is something we are all very impressed with and it was particularly special to see him complete it at our Currergate Nursing Home. He has walked over 100 miles and visited 11 homes over nine days. His determination and drive to do something for others is heart-warming and we are delighted to have been able to support him.”

Jeffrey said: “Care workers deserve more recognition for their heroic work. Every day, they make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people across the country, providing them with the dignity and support they need to live happy and contented lives. The Care Workers Charity is a fantastic organisation who support these heroes and I am honoured to raise money to support them. This challenge has been one of most ambitious I have ever embarked on.

“It has been wonderful to visit so many amazing care homes to see first-hand the high-quality care they provide. I was always received with enthusiasm and everyone I met was so friendly.”

“While doing the challenge I received many words of encouragement, including friendly waves, thumbs up and car horns tooting. I have also given away handkerchiefs since the lockdown began to bring a smile to people, must be about 300 now!”

Emily Barnett, Partnership and Events Manager at The Care Workers’ Charity, said: “Jeffrey’s Walk for Carers has been a remarkable fundraiser for The Care Workers’ Charity. Jeffrey has been walking each day, meeting care workers and spreading joy. It has been a pleasure to follow Jeffrey’s journey, donate if you can to support Jeffrey and to support care workers.”

Jeffrey started his fundraising when he was 75 and supported the Royal British Legion by walking from London to Lausanne in Switzerland while carrying a 30kg backpack. Jeffrey was then awarded an MBE in 2010 for his voluntary services and received praise from former Prime Minister Theresa May for his “long-serving support of Armed Forces charities”.

He has since raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity in many other fundraising walks and has even attracted the backing of numerous celebrities, including Al Murray, Jason Manford and Iain Lee.