Tributes paid to 97-year-old hospital fundraiser and war veteran
- Credit: Ruth Dockerty
Tributes have been paid to a "truly inspirational" army war veteran who raised £4,000 to support the Norfolk and Norwich University University Hospital during the first lockdown.
Brian Garrad, from Coltishall, became one of the hospital's oldest fundraisers at the age of 96 when he he walk 10 miles in a month, after plans to join the Queen for dinner to mark VE Day were cancelled due to the pandemic.
He was set to be among 700 veterans attending the three-day celebrations last May, and should have seen a parade through the capital, a flyover, afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace, before a dinner with the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
Despite suffering from COPD and chronic lung disease he completed the challenge which involved walking 70 laps of his daughter's garden.
His daughter Ruth Dockerty said the challenge gave him a great sense of purpose to raise money for his local hospital.
The 97-year-old died on March 13 at the NNUH.
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Mrs Dockerty said: “He was an amazing dad, always looking for a new adventure. He had so many interests including London buses - he ended up owning one - steam trains, gardening , music and Norwich City Football Club. His happiest days were spent at the beach, particularly Walcott.
“He lived for his family and, even though he had many tragedies in his life, he always kept us positive and his faith in the church saw him through.
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"We are so proud of him [for raising the money], as walking was so difficult.
“We’d like to thank all the nurses and doctors on Dilham Ward who were fabulous to him and us, and David and Lorna from the palliative care team who kept his spirits going by trying to get him home."
Mr Garrad, a great-grandfather of seven, served with the 120th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment 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 frontline.
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.
A spokesman for the hospital's charity fundraising team said: "He was a true inspiration to us all and we have such lovely memories of his fundraising efforts and his fantastic VE Day celebrations at home. The money he raised is making a huge difference to our hospital and our thoughts are with all his family and friends.”