Coronavirus: Ghana war veteran, 95, walks 23km to raise funds

WWII veteran Joseph Hammond logs 14 miles in a week as part of a fundraiser to support Africa’s front-line workers.

Private Joseph Hammond a 95 years old WWII veteran in Ghana [Screegrab/GUBA Foundation]
Private Joseph Hammond fought in World War II for Britain, like thousands of Africans [Screegrab/GUBA Foundation]

A 95-year-old Ghanaian World War II veteran walked 23 kilometres (14 miles) in one week to raise funds for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.

Joseph Hammond logged 3.2 kilometres (two miles) each day to reach his target on Africa Day earlier this week in Ghana’s capital, Accra. As of Thursday, he had raised almost $26,000. 

Hammond fought the war for Great Britain like thousands of Africans that came under colonial rule at the time.

“I fought in the war which ended 75 years ago. Now we are faced with another invisible war – COVID-19,” Hammond said in a video message on his JustGiving crowdfunding page.

Hammond said his aim was to raise 500,000 pounds ($613,000) to support “vulnerable veterans and the front-line workers all involved to kick away COVID-19 from Africa”.

Hammond said he was inspired by Captain Tom Moore, who became a national hero in the United Kingdom after raising 33 million pounds ($40m) to help the country’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his 25-metre (82-foot) garden before he turned 100.

In Russia, Zinaida Korneva, a 97-year-old WWII veteran, is recounting her war stories on social media to raise money for the families of doctors who died of coronavirus.

In the UK, 100-year-old Dabirul Choudhury walked laps of his community garden while fasting for the holy month of Ramadan to raise money for COVID-19 victims.

The coronavirus outbreak has reached every nation on the African continent of 1.2 billion people.

As of Thursday, more than 124,000 people have been confirmed as having been infected and at least 3,696 have died, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 51,000 have recovered.

The World Health Organization has called for vigilance, warning that COVID-19 could kill up to 190,000 people in Africa and infect between 29 million and 44 million in the first year if containment measures fail.

Source: Al Jazeera