WHITCHURCH’S veteran charity fundraiser Tom Kelly MBE is back on the campaign trail…and this time he’s heading for the hills.

Tom, 80, is currently striding up eight of the area’s most “interesting” hills to raise money that will help rid the world of polio.

The past president and long-time member of Whitchurch Rotary Club was awarded the MBE three years ago after raising more £75,000 for 18 different UK and overseas charities.

His ‘Goats for Grandmothers’ project in Zambia started in 2014 with 10 women and 40 goats and now has 138 women and 552 goats – much of it funded with money raised by Tom.

Now he’s set his sights on Rotary’s own ‘PolioPlus’ campaign which, with match-funding from Bill Gates, has driven polio out of all except two countries in the world.

“I get great support from Rotary for all my charity efforts,” he said.

“Back in 1988, when I joined Rotary, polio was claiming the lives of children in over 100 countries. It was the first Rotary initiative that I got involved with and was the start of a worldwide campaign.

“It would be easy, in this Covid year, to forget that we just need one last push to completely free the world of this disease.

"So that’s why ‘PolioPlus’ is my chosen charity this year.”

Tom is currently part-way through the eight 'interestingly named' hills, within 30 miles of Whitchurch, where he is often making early solo starts to keep within Covid restrictions and away from other walkers.

Before the end of November he will have climbed hills between 1,049 and 1,844 feet high – including Stiperstones and Pontesford Hill near Shrewsbury, Caer Caradoc near Church Stretton, The Wrekin near Telford, Rodney’s Pillar in Powys, Middletown Hill near Welshpool, Castell Dinas Bran and Sir Watkins Tower above Llangollen.

The project was timed to coincide with World Polio Day, on October 24, when thousands of Rotary clubs throughout the world were raising awareness, funds and support to eradicate polio.