Norfolk veteran raises £2,000 for N&N after plans to meet the Queen cancelled
PUBLISHED: 11:11 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:27 08 May 2020
A Norfolk army war veteran who was due to be joining the Queen for dinner to mark VE Day is instead celebrating raising more than £2,000 for his local hospital.
Brian Garrad, from Coltishall, was among 700 veterans from the UK set to attend a three-day celebration in London, which would have included a parade through the capital, a flyover, afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace and dinner with the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
Instead, the 96-year-old, who has chronic lung disease, has challenged himself to walk 10 miles in a month, which works out as 70 laps of his daughter’s garden, in aid of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
Like many, he was inspired by the efforts of Colonel Tom Moore and wanted to do his bit while he is in lockdown.
The great-grandfather-of-seven said: “It takes me about 20 minutes to walk around, it is quite a big garden. We worked out that sevens laps is about a mile. I suffer from a lung disease, COPD, and I cannot walk very far, I often use a scooter to scoot about, but not in the garden. It has become easier to walk.
“I’m pretty convinced in lockdown I’m much healthier, I think it is doing me good. I started doing one lap a day now I am up to three. I was hoping to reach my target on VE Day but it is going to be early next week.”
He has been out to complete his laps whatever the weather, but fortunately has only had to be armed with a brolly on two occasions.
Read more: VE Day: How Norfolk celebrated on this day 75 years ago
Mr Garrad, and his daughter Ruth Dockerty, had been due to travel to London on Thursday for the event, which would also include musical performances from military bands in St James Park on Saturday.
Mr Garrad served with the 120th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (120th LAA Rgt) during the Second World War, an air defence unit of the British Army’s Royal Artillery, and spent the majority of that time in France, often driving ammunition to the front line.
The army veteran recalled he was on leave from his station in Germany and was at his parent’s when the announcement came that the war was over on May 8, 1945.
Born in North London, to Norfolk-born parents, he signed up aged 18 and worked his way up the ranks to Sergeant.
He arrived in France several days after D-Day and over the course of the conflict moved to Holland and then to Germany.
Read more: From Vera Lynn to Spitfire heroes - names live on in Norfolk man’s signature collection
On his plans for VE Day, the British Legion member said: “The two of us were going to have a fun time but we will celebrate it here. Ruth and Chris have decorated the court yard, we will listen to records of 1940s music.”
The family also have cupcakes to share with those walking past their home in Irstead.
Read more: Iconic Red Arrows to soar through Norfolk skies this VE Day
Mr Garrard will complete his daily lap in his uniform.
Mrs Dockerty added: “Dad aimed to raise £500 for the hospital charity but he has exceeded that and is now up to £2,235.
“He had been invited to be part of the special VE Day celebrations in London but that has obviously been cancelled now, so instead he will be doing more laps in the garden and we will be waving our Union Jacks at him for his own little parade.
“He normally can’t walk 100 metres so this is a huge achievement for him.”
To support Mr Garrad visit his justgiving.com/fundraising/brian-garrad
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.