Indefatigable great-grandmother Pat Bishop is marking her 100th birthday by walking 500 steps every day during Lent to raise money for families around the world living without access to water.
Pat, who lives with her daughter and son-in-law in Poole, Dorset, after retiring 35 years ago, is an active member of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) volunteering charity. A founding member and former Director of the Drama and Arts Department at Bath University, Pat is supporting international development charity CAFOD’s Walk for Water campaign. She says: “I felt so awful inside when I thought about how badly people were suffering because they did not have clean water readily available.
“When I turned 100 years old people would ask what I'd like for my birthday. At my age, I don't need anything, so I would be delighted if people could sponsor me as their gift.”
Pat, who is a regular tap-dancer, was inspired by centenarian Captain Sir Tom Moore who moved the nation to donate a staggering £32.8 million for the NHS. She has raised over £4,500 to date, saying: “500 steps might not seem far, and a few years ago I would have signed up to do 10,000 steps a day. However, nowadays 500 steps will still be a challenge, particularly as the weather is rather chilly.”
Members of Pat’s SVP group in Poole describe the great-grandmother as “strong, determined and always keen to get involved and happy to help and encourage others.”
Pat, who is a long-term SVP member at St Mary’s Church in the Dorset town and still helps at monthly ‘tea and chat’ afternoons for senior citizens, says that the motivation for her charity work stems from a childhood experience in which her family were offered a home when they were in need. Pat explains: “When my father lost his job, two very good family friends kindly offered to take us into their home. They did this immediately and didn’t want anything in return for their generosity, they were just pleased to have us with them.”
Her daughter, Mandy Shanahan, adds: “Mum is an amazing woman who has inspired so many people through her life. Her faith has always been important to her and she was delighted to find a strong SVP at St Mary's. She has always made time for other people no matter how busy her life has been. She is an inspiration.”
To donate to Pat’s campaign, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pat-bishop
For more information or to donate to the SVP’s Rise to the Challenge campaign, go to www.svp.org.uk/rise, @SVPEnglandWales (#SVPRiseChallenge) or telephone 020 7703 3030.