Airman Ron takes Covid in his stride

Covid has not been able to stop Christchurch 89-year-old Ron Towner continuing his mission to raise money for a rescue helicopter trust.

The Royal Air Force veteran, who has become known as airman Ron, has been completing daily walks in Halswell where he lives to raise $90,000 for the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust before he turns 90 at the end of July.

Ron contracted Covid at an exercise class he was running for Age Concern and finished his isolation period last weekend.

His wife Val also caught Covid and while she spent a lot of time resting in bed, Ron was out and about continuing his walks after getting permission from his doctor.

When he tested positive he said the doctors put him on extra pills for his lung disease and aside from a sore throat he was mostly fine.

"The funny thing is they scared me to death because they told me the antibiotics have got some pretty bad side effects and I didn’t get any of them," he laughed.

Ron Towner. Photo: Star News
Ron Towner. Photo: Star News
Ron’s idea to raise money for the helicopter trust stemmed from the famous Captain Sir Tom Moore, an ex-British Army officer who raised almost NZ$60 million for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service by walking lengths of his backyard during the Covid lockdown in Britain.

While Ron admitted it was getting a bit colder during his walks, he didn’t think about stopping while he had Covid.

"I need to do them otherwise I get behind ... I actually missed one day because it was very heavy rain all day so I did two walks the next day."

Ron has raised $24,106 on his Givealittle page so far and said he sold his leather jacket on Trade Me for $61 for the cause as well.

"Westpac are really enthusiastic about it so that was great ... they’re such great people, really nice people."

A meet and greet was organised for Ron this weekend which he said will be postponed as the people organising it have contracted Covid as well.

While he still has a bit of a sore throat Ron said he’s bounced back well from the virus and will continue with his walks.

"Apart from the lung disease and the affects of my stroke I’m pretty fit for my age I think."

•Donate to Ron’s cause here.

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