A 95-year-old Ghanaian World War Two veteran, who was inspired by the efforts of fellow veteran Captain Tom Moore is to be honored 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. On hearing he was to get a Commonwealth Point of Light award he said, "I was overwhelmed and filled with joy”.
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.
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.
A BBC reporter Thomas Naadi says, 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. He wants 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.
'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 is a force of nature and an inspiration to many, including me,” he said.
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 marvelous, 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 organizations helping him in his fundraising efforts. Surprises keep coming - I'm short of words, I don't know what to say," he said.
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.