Charity chief exec walks 100 miles to celebrate war hero’s 100th birthday

11 September 2017

Chief executive Neil Heslop and executive director partnership services Laura Crandley meeting some of the Red ArrowsThe chief executive of charity Leonard Cheshire Disability walked 100 miles to honour the birthday of the charity’s founder, war hero and global humanitarian Leonard Cheshire, who would have been 100 years old on Thursday 7 September.

Neil Heslop OBE, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability, who is himself blind, walked over 20 miles each day with fellow Leonard Cheshire staff, completing the walk on Saturday 9 September.

He started his trek from Chester, Leonard Cheshire’s birthplace, to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, where Cheshire trained during the second world war. As he crossed his finish line, Neil was greeted with an air show and got to meet pilots from the Red Arrows.

Along the way, he was joined by young volunteers from Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do programme, which supports young disabled people to develop life skills through volunteering in their community.

On completing the walk, Neil said:

‘Like thousands of Leonard Cheshire staff across the UK and around the world I have marked the centenary anniversary of our remarkable founder’s birth with a personal 100 for 100 challenge.

‘I set off on a 111 mile sponsored walk from Leonard’s birthplace in Chester to his wartime base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. 

‘It was brilliant to be joined on parts of the walk by young disabled people we work with, directors and volunteer supporters.

‘To be greeted by the Red Arrows at their home base air show was a great way to end.

‘It is a real privilege to lead Leonard’s charity and I hope in honouring this amazing humanitarian’s impact on the world we can inspire all of us to redouble our efforts to improve the life choices of disabled people.’

Leonard Cheshire, the second world war bomber pilot and Victoria Cross recipient, dedicated his life to helping those in need.

He passed away in 1992, but his legacy continues in his charity, which currently supports disabled people in the UK and around the world to live the lives they choose.

Neil’s walk is part of the charity’s #100for100 challenge to mark 100 years since its founders’ birth. The charity is calling on people to harness their creativity to do anything involving the number 100 and share it on social media using the hashtag #100for100.

Leonard Cheshire Disability hopes the diverse range of #100for100 challenges will reflect the diversity of disability. It wants as many people as possible to take part, to raise awareness of Leonard Cheshire’s belief that disabled people should be able fulfil their potential and live the lives they choose.

Fundraising from #100for100 challenges will support the charity’s work in the UK and around the world.

Media enquires

For further information and interview requests please contact Bethany Ditzel on bethany.ditzel@leonardcheshire.org or 020 3242 0389.

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