A 95-year-old World War II (WWII) veteran, Ex-Private Joseph Ashiteye Hammond, has raised £18,000 to support frontline workers and vulnerable veterans in Africa as his contribution towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The veteran raised the money by walking 14 miles within seven days.
The money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and essentials for frontline workers of Commonwealth countries of Africa.
Some of the funds will also be used to support some vulnerable veterans, particularly, in Ghana.
Contributors to the fund included soldiers in the British Army.
Ex-Private Hammond began the walk on May 19 and ended on May 25.
Starting from his home at Osu, he walked for two miles daily, and went through areas such as the Bloombar, Danquah Circle and the Osu Oxford Street.
He took his final steps at the Black Star Square where he was met on arrival by some veterans.
Ex-Private Hammond fought in and survived the Second World War, and told the Daily Graphic that he felt obliged to also fight against COVID-19.
“This is a virtual war that needs everyone to be part of to win. I asked myself what I could do and I realised walking to raise funds could be my contribution,” he explained.
He said he was also inspired by a similar exercise undertaken by a 100-year-old British WWII veteran, Colonel (retd) Tom Moore, who last March walked laps around his garden to raise funds to support the National Health Service (NHS) in its fight against COVID-19.
To mark his 100th birthday, Colonel (retd) Moore, though frail and needing the help of a walking aid, had expressed the hope to raise a thousand pounds in 24 days to support the NHS.
However, his story went viral in the media and he had succeeded in raising over £32.79 million when he celebrated his birthday on April 30.
“I embarked on this walk because I was inspired by Sir Colonel Moore. Being a veteran who fought in Burma like he did, I knew that I could do for Africa what he did for Britain, and in doing so, contribute a great amount for the frontline workers and vulnerable veterans across some countries in Africa,” Ex-Private Hammond said.
“Many doubted if I could do it due to my age, but Jesus loves me so much and has crowned my efforts with success, and I thank him and all those involved in this initiative.”
The walk was an initiative of the GUBA Enterprise and Forces Help Africa.
The GUBA Enterprise is a social enterprise organisation dedicated to the advancement of diaspora Africans and Africans back home through various socio-economic programmes and initiatives.
Forces Help Africa is an agency that supports all pre-independence veterans who served the crown or under the British Command within all the Commonwealth countries in Africa before their country gained independence.
Ex-Private Hammond was joined by the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iain Walker; Assistant Defence Advisor at the High Commission, Sgt Joel Downham, among other dignitaries.
Source: Graphic Online