INSPIRED by the nation’s hero Captain Sir Thomas Moore who raised more than a staggering £32-million for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden in the run up to his 100th birthday, a Tavistock resident has taken on his own challenge to raise money for a local charity.

Paul Fletcher, who lives at Crelake House care home for the elderly, on Whitchurch Road, is walking ten circuits of 100m a day for the whole of June for TASS (Tavistock Area Support Services) and what’s more he is inspiring other residents at the home to take more walks too.

Paul, 74, struggles with his mobility after a life changing stroke 20 years ago which left him with left side weakness.

He uses a mobility scooter outside of the home for his shopping trips to Tavistock and to see friends — but with coronavirus stopping his socialising, Paul has used lockdown to focus on his mobility strength.

Inspired by Captain Tom’s efforts he said: ‘I completed 100 laps of the garden for May which was 60m long,’ said Paul. ‘At the beginning it took me over half an hour to do 60m but recently I got it down to half that time.

‘Staff here then worked out a route through the house and around the garden which was 100m long — I intend to do ten circuits a day for the whole of June for TASS [Tavistock Area Support Services].’

Paul, who was born in Calstock but has lived all over the south west, added: ‘At the turn of the century I suffered a life threatening stroke and then two years ago my wife died of cancer and as I can’t look after myself I moved into Crelake House. When I came out of hospital in 2001 I had to walk with a 4ft stick. Last November I was in Derriford Hospital with pneumonia and I had to revert to the stick again — so here I am endeavouring to regain my strength and I am chuffed with my ability to walk and raise money for TASS.’

Registered manager at Crelake House Zoe Hickman said: ‘Paul is someone who gives a lot to the community — he is part of the Salvation Army, the local church and TASS — and they support him.

‘Paul struggles with his mobility as he has left side weakness and uses a three-prong walking stick — since doing the challenge his speed has improved, his stability has improved and his stamina has improved. His first lap took him 45 minutes and now he is completing ten laps a day.

‘It’s not just had a positive impact on Paul, it’s having a positive impact on the home — so many residents are going for walks on a daily, if not twice daily, walk.’

Paul expressed thanks to the staff at Crelake House for their help and support for his challenges: ‘The community spirit in Crelake House makes me so happy and they should be commended. They go beyond the call of friendship and I know no-one wants to go into a care home but I have found a good one.’