Captain Sir Tom Moore inspires man's first 100 count since stroke

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Image source, PA/Pauline Yates
Image caption,
Gary Yates's wife paid tribute to his positive outlook

A man has counted to 100 for the first time since he suffered a major stroke as part of the Captain Tom 100 campaign.

People have been urged to complete their own 100-themed charity challenges to mark what would have been the famous fundraiser's 101st birthday.

Gary Yates lost his ability to speak when he suffered a severe ischaemic stroke two-and-a-half years ago.

He completed his challenge after weeks of practice and failed attempts.

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Captain Sir Tom Moore rose to prominence last year when he raised £33m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden.

He died in February but his family has recruited celebrities and members of the public to create their own fundraising efforts in his memory.

Mr Yates, who is originally from Leicester but now lives in Switzerland, was encouraged to embark on the challenge by his wife Pauline as a way of improving his speech.

The stroke, which happened during a holiday in Spain, destroyed the 58-year-old's speaking ability and left him with short-term memory problems.

Mrs Yates said his counting achievement gave them "something that you can grab on to" during his continued recovery.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
David Beckham and Dame Judi Dench have joined in with the Captain Tom challenge

"I can't tell you how proud I am," she said.

"There is only me who knows what he had to put into that every single day - he's been practising for weeks.

"When we first saw Captain Tom on television, I said to Gary, 'if that guy at nearly 100 years of age can even think of doing something like this then there is no bounds for what you can do'.

"If people saw all the videos, they would understand what a stroke does... I'm trying to get people to understand that. He'll count to 10 perfectly, and then he'll go '10, 11, 15, 79'."

In completing the challenge, Mr Yates has raised more than £1,000 for the Stroke Association.

Image source, PA/Frank McEwan
Image caption,
Frank McEwan said he was amazed by how much he has raised

Meanwhile, a 74-year-old man with incurable cancer has reached the halfway point in his bid to complete 100 circuits of Rutland Water on his bike.

Frank McEwan, from Belton in Rutland, finished his 50th lap on Sunday and has so far raised more than £2,500 for Cancer Research.

The former army sergeant was diagnosed with cancer of the lung, kidney and thorax in August 2018 before being told the disease was incurable last year.

Mr McEwan said chemotherapy had left him struggling to walk but his passion for cycling had inspired his Captain Tom 100 challenge.

He said: "I have friends who say 'you're bonkers', I say 'well, I've cycled all my life'."

Captain Tom 100 challenges have been taking place across the UK.

In Wigan, Lois Rowland, 35, hula-hooped continuously for 100 rotations to raise more than £365 for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.

And in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, a six-year-old boy baked and sold 100 cakes with his mother to raise more than £200 for Diabetes UK.

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