He is Northern Ireland’s answer to the late Captain Tom Moore, a 95-year-old world war veteran taking on an amazing challenge for charity.
Co Down’s Jim Copeland can barely walk but on his exercise bike, he is steadily cycling through all the towns of his life in a mammoth 180km fundraiser.
A retired baker, who served in the Home Guard during the Second World War, Jim relies on a walking frame to get about.ADVERTISING
He started his challenge in August and at a steady pace of two to three kilometres a day, is pushing himself to the limit for a cause which is close to his heart.
Jim is raising funds in memory of his late granddaughter Charlene Barr to boost a charity she set up in the months before she died in October 2010.
Charlene, a Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland award-winner, was in hospital waiting on a life-saving double lung transplant when she set up Charlene’s Project in 2008.
She had visited Uganda with her family the year before and was so moved by the poverty that she launched a fund in the last months of her life to build a primary school.
Charlene managed to raise an incredible £120,000 but sadly never got to see the school she built as she passed away in October 30, 2010, aged just 20.
Her family — dad Dickie, a GP, mum Janice and siblings David, Rebecca, Natalie, Bethany and Serena — carried on her vision.
They now want to build a secondary school so that the children Charlene helped can continue their education.
And after Covid hit fundraising hard, Jim, who recently moved to Lurgan to live with Charlene’s parents, decided to step in to help.
An active man before the pandemic who played bowls daily, inactivity during lockdown has left him barely able to walk.
As well as raising as much funds as he can to help build the secondary school in Uganda, he is also hoping to get a spring back in his step.
He says: “During this pandemic people like me were locked in our own houses. I was fairly active before it and played bowls every day.
“With being on my own I sat around too much and as a result my legs got weaker and I fell a few times. I could hardly walk out the door.
“I needed medical attention and am still on painkillers and get around with the help of a rollator.
“Now that I am living with my daughter Janice and her family I want to get back to full strength again.
“At the end of it I hope to feel stronger and fitter than I am now.
“I also wanted to raise funds for Charlene’s Project because if Charlene was able to do what she did for children in Uganda, then I could do my little bit.
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