95 Birthday Walk
1452. Maureen Lightbody
Maureen Lightbody, aged 95, from County Down, Northern Ireland, is a veteran who served with the Wrens in the Second World War and was inspired by fellow veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore to undertake a ‘95 by 95’ challenge for her birthday in July.
During the Second World War, Maureen served with the Women’s Royal Naval Service and as an 18 year-old was a signaller for American ships dispatched from Belfast Lough to Normandy. Moved by the example of Captain Sir Tom Moore to make her own contribution to the battle with coronavirus, she has walked 95 miles by her 95th birthday, raising over £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, the charity she supported in memory of her late husband George, who died from cancer in 1987.
Maureen was personally congratulated on her award by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland (pictured above, alongside Maureen’s daughter Rosemary, and below).
In a personal letter to Maureen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for your endurance and determination in walking 95 miles by your 95th birthday for the benefit of Macmillan Cancer Support, inspired by your fellow veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore. You should be incredibly proud of raising over £20,000, in memory of your late husband.
“As we commemorate VJ Day tomorrow, reminding us of everything your generation achieved to bring peace, allow me to thank you for your own service with the Wrens in the Second World War – and to wish you, belatedly, a very happy 95th birthday!”
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said:
“Maureen’s 95 mile walk ahead of her 95th birthday, which raised an incredible £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, is an inspiration to us all. I am certain that her late husband George would be incredibly proud of what she has achieved in his memory.
“As we prepare to commemorate VJ Day, I am proud to add my personal thanks to Maureen for everything that she and others of her generation continue to contribute to our community, as well as my congratulations on her richly-deserved award.”
“I was absolutely amazed when told about this award, it feels like everyone is talking about someone else. I loved this challenge, it gave me a real sense of purpose and structure during lockdown, and felt good to be doing something positive at 95 years of age and supporting such a worthwhile charity as Macmillan Cancer Support. Everyone has been so supportive and generous and not just family and friends but also people I have never met.”
Pictured below: Maureen undertaking her 95 by 95 challenge; and with her fellow Wrens during the Second World War (middle front row)