In times of crisis, when nobody knows which way to turn, life can sometimes be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.
That’s how 100-year-old war veteran Tom Moore, who was promoted from captain to colonel on his 100th birthday, raised £32.8 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden — and not long after, another elderly gentleman decided to literally follow in his footsteps.
And after Sir Tom was knighted for his work, Dabirul Islam Choudhury — who is also 100 years old, from Bow in east London — has been awarded with an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for walking around his backyard while fasting for Ramadan.
When Choudhury set out to walk 100 laps of his 80-metre community garden during lockdown on April 26, he aimed to raise £1,000 for vulnerable people disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But within eight hours, he had already smashed that target.
Before the end of May, he had raised more than £420,000, all during Ramadan, a spiritual month in the Islamic calendar observed by prayer, community, and fasting between dawn and sunset every day.
“We should help each other,” Choudhury told BBC London. “This is why I wish to salute Tom!”
Over the course of the month, he walked 970 laps of his garden.
“I feel proud they have honoured me for the efforts I have done,” Choudhury said in response to the OBE. “I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”
Choudhury’s son, Atique, added that he was “very proud” of his father: ”Where we are from in Bangladesh, we don’t get much recognition for the work that we do, so this is for all the people who contributed towards my dad’s success and all the victims of COVID-19.”
He added: “He said his work hasn’t finished and he’s going to carry on working and raising money for people affected by COVID-19.”
Atique also revealed that his father has been fighting for social justice all his life, raising money for the Liberation of Bangladesh and to tackle the famine in 1974 that was estimated to have killed 1.5 million people.