Inspirational Yorkshire 80-year-old Private walks 5km in a car park to raise money for Sheffield Children's Hospital

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A Yorkshire Private has walked 5km around a car park at the end of his street to raise money for a hospital who treats his great-granddaughter.

Private Terry Jacobs, 80, has walked 5km, 200m at a time, in a car park at the end of his street to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Terry completed his national service between 1960 and 1962 in Iserlohn, Germany, earning 10 shillings a week.

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He recalls: “I liked the barracks, but I didn’t enjoy the discipline. I much prefer to be independent in thought and action, but ultimately the experience certainly served me well.”

Private Terry Jacobs completing his walkPrivate Terry Jacobs completing his walk
Private Terry Jacobs completing his walk

Originally from East Anglia, Terry moved to Sheffield in 1969 and owned a shop on London Road before retiring in 2000.

The exploits of another former serviceman, Captain Tom Moore, convinced Terry to take on a challenge of his own to express his gratitude.

Terry explains: “I was sitting in front of the TV one morning and I thought if Captain Tom could do it at 100, I’ve no excuses at 80!

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“Honestly, it was tough. Last year, I started to have lots of trouble walking and I needed to have a blue badge. I certainly wouldn’t have done it every day if I hadn’t committed myself to the cause.”

Terry and his great-granddaughterTerry and his great-granddaughter
Terry and his great-granddaughter

Nevertheless, aided by his Zimmer frame, Terry completed three laps of a nearby carpark every day until he reached his target, crossing a taped finish line surrounded by family and friends.

Thanks in part to donations from Sheffield and Chesterfield Bridge Clubs, he has so far raised more than £1,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity. It is a cause close to his heart after seeing the care received at Sheffield Children’s Hospital by one of his great-grandchildren, Esmae Walker.

Esmae was born 12 weeks premature in July 2016. At just four days old, she was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital from Jessops Wing Maternity Unit by ambulance for a life-saving operation.

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Esmae was admitted with a condition known as necrotising enterocolitis, a serious illness in which tissues in the intestine become inflamed and begin to die. This can lead to a hole developing, which causes the contents of the intestine to leak into the abdomen.

In total, Esmae would spend the five months on the Neonatal Surgical Unit (NSU) at Sheffield Children’s, where she had a further three bowel surgeries, all of which were successful.

Mum Rochelle said: “Esmae is almost four-years-old and thriving today as a result of the care, support and attention received at Sheffield Children’s. At one time we were under the care of multiple teams including neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology and dieticians but we now only visit once a year for check-ups.”

Great-grandfather Terry continues: “I love all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but Esmae will always hold a special place in my heart because of what she has been through.

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“She’s starting to talk, walk and learn; she’s exceeding all expectations. The team at Sheffield Children’s did a wonderful job.”

Abbie Pervin, Regional Fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “We’re very proud of Private Jacobs’ phenomenal achievement, not only the amazing amount he has raised for Sheffield Children’s but also the personal strength and determination it has taken him to complete this challenge.

“It is also really heart-warming to hear of Esmae’s life-saving care at our hospital. Every penny raised by Private Jacobs will help thousands of young patients like Esmae who rely on our excellent care every week. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the effort.”

You can support Terry’s fundraising by visiting: