Veteran, 86, who walked 86 miles for charity smashes target after Manford tweet

An 86-year-old veteran who walked 86 miles for charity has smashed his target thanks to a tweet from a comedian.

Jeffrey Long's fundraising campaign was given a boost after Jason Manford posted a link to his JustGiving page on Tuesday.

Manford tweeted: "Would love to get this up to £30k before Jeffrey checks his JustGiving page tonight. £1 each should do it!

"Feel free to add to this amazing cause, top fella. I couldn't walk 86 Miles now!"

Mr Long was aiming to raise £1,000 for the Royal British Legion. His total shot up from £300 to more than £40,000 within hours.

"I was in tears when I heard," he said.

"It's been the hardest walk I've ever done, I injured my back, my broken ankle was playing up and I had a hamstring problem."

His campaign was picked up by Manford after a chance meeting on a train with a woman, Paula Modeste, who shared his story on Facebook.

"I met her and her boyfriend and we got on the train together," he said.

"She was a terribly nice girl and she started it off and a comedian has taken it up and that's how it's happened."

Ms Modeste posted a photo of them together and said: "He's walking 86 miles for his 86 years in aid of the poppy appeal.

"Doing it without a map or loads of publicity (he's not social media savvy).

"He's just doing it armed with a justgiving page, keen sense of direction and a massive heart. If you can drop a few quid his way, please do.

"He's so deserving. He was only at 8% of his target on Saturday night. How sad would it be if he didn't reach £1000 or even smash it! His name is Jeffrey Long MBE and he is a legend."

Mr Long, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, finished the trek along the Thames path two weeks after his 86th birthday.

As well as raising funds for the Poppy Appeal he also collected for Support our Para, a charity which supports his former regiment 12th Yorkshire Parachute Battalion.

Mr Long has an MBE for his charity work, which began ten years ago with a 650-mile hike to Switzerland.

This was his third consecutive birthday walk, after he did 84 miles along Hadrian's Wall for his 84th and 85 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal for his 85th.

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