A 99-YEAR-OLD war hero is following in Captain Tom Moore’s footsteps and walking 100 lengths of her driveway to raise funds for the NHS.

After watching Captain Tom’s incredible efforts unfold on television, Dedham resident Marjorie West was inspired to do her bit for frontline healthcare workers.

As well as both almost being centenarians, each played a pivotal role in British efforts during the Second World War.

As a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, known as Wrens, Marjorie helped with the Allies’ top secret D-Day preparations.

For her part in the war effort she was presented with the Chevalier in the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest military honour, last year.

Gazette: Majorie picks up her medal from Colonel Armel DirouMajorie picks up her medal from Colonel Armel Dirou

Great-grandmother Marjorie said: “Having seen Captain Tom Moore walking to raise funds for the NHS charities, I was inspired to show solidarity with him by walking 100 laps of my garden by his 100th birthday.

“I am also 99-years-old, and also a veteran of the Second World War, having served in the Wrens.

“Girls helped to win the war - girls can help to fight Covid-19.

“The National Health Service and its staff are doing a fantastic job fighting coronavirus and continuing their excellent health care for all of us.

“Let’s continue to support them.”

Marjorie signed up to the war effort after her husband Ted Graysmark was killed whilst serving in the RAF, at the age of just 21.

The couple had only married six weeks earlier, spending just a few days together as a couple before he was posted to Malta.

In the Wrens her skills as a teleprinter operator for the General Post Office were put to good use at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, where she helped prepare the final plan for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.

During the war she met a “handsome RAF radio operator” called Victor who went on to become her husband.

The couple were married for more than 50 years and had two children, Colin and Christine.

Marjorie lives with Colin and his wife, Lyn, at their home in Dedham, where she is taking on her challenge.

She started her way to 100 laps last week, building her way up from one lap per day towards ten.

Gazette: Marjorie is doing 100 laps of her gardenMarjorie is doing 100 laps of her garden

Colin said: “Last week on the day on the day Captain Tom made his 100 laps she did her first one.

“Every day since then she has increased it and on Thursday she was up to eight.

“The aim is she will get to ten a day then do that until she reaches 100 laps on Captain Tom’s 100th birthday on Thursday.

“The physical challenge isn’t huge for most people but Captain Tom is 99 and so is Marjorie. It is a difficult challenge for someone who is not very mobile.

“She doesn’t go out very much and so she doesn’t quite get a full sense of everything going on at the moment but she sees it on the TV and is really missing being able to see her grandchildren.

“She says she hasn’t seen anything like this before in her lifetime and truly nobody has.

Marjorie has set herself an initial target of raising £1,000, the very same Captain Tom set.

Of course, Tom has gone on to raise more than £28 million for NHS Charities Together, and hasn’t yet stopped walking.

Colin says although she is unlikely to raise millions, his mum is the kind of person who will keep walking if it will raise more money for the charity.

He said: “She thinks Tom is amazing and she does not see a parallel between them - she thinks she is ordinary.

“She does not see herself as anything special.

“But in my mind they are in the same bracket. They are both war heroes.

“She is the type of person where if the money is still rolling in when she reaches 100 laps she will keep going.

“I am very proud of her and the reaction from the whole family is one of great pride.”

Donate at justgiving.com/marjoriewest99.