A VETERAN Eastbourne schoolmaster and Rotarian has walked 100 miles for charity – seven months after a serious heart operation.

John Wilton, 81, who lives in East Dean, was told by his consultant at St Thomas’ Hospital in London he was lucky to be alive.

The former teacher at St Andrew’s in Meads had to learn to walk again after the operation.

He has been walking one mile a day and his original target was 50 miles in 50 days – but that soon became 100 miles.

John completed his last mile on Tuesday along Eastbourne Seafront – and he was delighted to be joined by Rotarians, friends and Eastbourne Mayor Candy Vaughan.

A celebration lunch was then held at The Langham Hotel.

John said: “I am very much aware that I came very close to dying, which has made me more determined than ever to help others.

“As a former Rotary District Governor, I have been involved in countless charity events over many years but this one has been very special.

“One mile a day might not sound much to many but for someone who had to learn to walk again, it is a major achievement.

“Some good friends have joined me along the way, which has been welcome companionship.”

John is raising money for the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio. World Polio Day was Tuesday October 24.

So far he has raised more than £1,000 plus Gift Aid. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match the donation two to one so the final total should be around £3000, all towards the eradication of polio.

Di Hammond, Joint President of Eastbourne AM Rotary Club – where John and wife Liz are valued members – said: “We are so proud of what John has achieved. We were all very concerned for him when he was in hospital but he has fought back like a 20-year-old.

“He is one incredible person, and what he has achieved is simply remarkable. Well done John from everyone at Eastbourne AM.”