A 95-year-old Ghanaian World War Two veteran is to be honoured by Queen Elizabeth for his fundraising efforts.
Private Joseph Hammond walked two miles (3.2km) a day for a week in May, raising $35,000 (£28,000) for frontline health workers and veterans in Africa.
“I was overwhelmed and filled with joy,” he said on hearing he was to get a Commonwealth Point of Light award.
He said he had been inspired by fellow veteran Capt Tom Moore, who raised more than £32m in the UK to fight Covid-19.
Capt Moore completed 100 laps of his garden in the run-up to his 100th birthday in April for NHS charities.
- BBC Africa Live: Updates from around the continent
- Belly dancers to florists: Six African coronavirus heroes
This prompted Pte Hammond to start his own campaign to raise money to buy personal protection equipment (PPE) for health workers and to protect vulnerable veterans on the African continent.
He started each day’s walk in the capital, Accra, early in the morning so he could complete his two miles before the heat and humidity of the day peaked, reports the BBC’s Thomas Naadi.
He wanted to raise about $600,000 in total, so the former Ghanaian soldier, who like Capt Moore fought in Burma, hopes donations will continue to be made, our reporter says.
‘He is a force of nature’
Iain Walker, the UK high commissioner to Ghana who joined Pte Hammond on his walk, said the Queen presented Points of Light awards to outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth who changed the lives of their community.
“Pte Hammond exemplifies these qualities. It has been a privilege to get to know Pte Hammond and to experience his selflessness,” he said.
“He is a force of nature and an inspiration to many, including me.”
Pte Hammond, who was drafted into the Royal West African Frontier Force at the age 16, will receive the award at the UK High Commission in Accra at a date still to be decided.
“This is marvellous, this is wonderful, it’s beyond my comprehension,” he tweeted in a video produced by the Guba Foundation and Forces Help Africa, the two non-governmental organisation helping him in his fundraising efforts.
“Surprises keep coming – I’m short of words, I don’t know what to say,” he said.
I was overwhelmed and filled with joy when I heard I have been chosen to be honoured by Her Majesty the Queen @RoyalFamily possible.”@forceshelpafri1 @GUBAFOUNDATION @UKinGhana @PHarry_Meghan @scobie #walkwithhammond @TheRCSAfrica @BBCAfrica @walkeriain @CNNAfrica @NAkufoAddo pic.twitter.com/VI0rrAzlzF
— pte.hammond (@pte_hammond) June 19, 2020
Earlier this month, he had received a letter from Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson, commending him on his walk.
Pte Hammond had met Prince Harry, who works to support veterans, during an event at the Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in London last year.
Three years after the end of World War Two, Ghana, then the Gold Coast, was rocked by riots following the killing of three Ghanaian veterans who had been demanding compensation for their service during the conflict.
It became a milestone in Ghana’s struggle for independence, which was achieved in 1957.
Send your news stories to www.ghanabanews.com and via whatsApp on +233243359263