100 year old WWII vetran cycles for charity

100 year old WWII vetran Raymond Brooks is raising money riding his exercise bike since the start of the first lockdown.

Video Transcript

HARRIET HADFIELD: Birthdays in lockdown can be a little lonely.


But it's not every day you turn 100.

TRUDY KING: Happy birthday, Dad.

RAY BROOKS: Oh, thank you, my darling.


HARRIET HADFIELD: Ray Brooks is delighted with his birthday wishes from the Queen and his newfound fame fundraising for charity. Since lockdown began, Ray has cycled for 15 minutes every single day. But due to a slight technical fault, he doesn't actually know how far that is in total.

RAY BROOKS: I haven't got a clue 'cause my bike's so old that the monitor's broken. So I can't measure the mileage, but I do 15 minutes every day. And I can't imagine how many miles that comes to. It would be nice to find out.

HARRIET HADFIELD: I wonder how many times around the Isle of Wight that would be.

RAY BROOKS: Oh, quite a few, I should think.

HARRIET HADFIELD: He says he's lucky daughter Trudy lives nearby.

TRUDY KING: Started off 5 minutes, and built up to 10 minutes, and then built up to 15. And I was talking to my sister, and we said, well, why don't you do it for charity, Dad?

HARRIET HADFIELD: Raymond Charles Jules Brooks served for six years in the British army. Joining up in 1938, he spent part of the Second World War in the Middle East before landing with his regiment on the first day of the invasion of Sicily, one year before D-day. He's already beaten his fundraising targets for Macmillan Nurses and a charity which supports blind veterans who've lost their sight in service.

SIMON BROWN: I was injured in 2006 in Iraq. A gunshot wound to the face. The bullet went in the left cheek, and it went in the right cheek. After all of the hoo-ha, the [INAUDIBLE] was I'd lose my left eye, and my right eye was severely damaged.

I think Raymond, you know, 100 years old, you know, has done a lot. He didn't feel sorry for yourself. He just decided to do something positive. And that inspires me to get up and do something positive, you know? I'm less than half his age, and if he's gonna do it, what's my excuse?

HARRIET HADFIELD: Ray says his cycling was inspired by this man, the late Captain Tom Moore, a man whose daily walking captured the hearts of the nation and raised millions of pounds for NHS charities, like Ray, in the run-up to his 100th birthday.

Raymond's lockdown story, like Captain Tom's before him, is exactly what we need to hear to counter the seemingly never-ending deluge of bad news. Two men, heroic in their military service, and now heroic again in a different way.

Ray intends to carry on cycling into his second century, and his secret to reaching 100 years?

RAY BROOKS: I haven't got a clue. I have a whiskey every night, if that's anything to go by. [LAUGHS] It's an amazing thing to get there.

TRUDY KING: I give him a big hug.

HARRIET HADFIELD: Harriet Hadfield, Sky News, on the Isle of Wight.