Ninety-five-year-old Ghanaian WWII veteran, Private Joseph Ashitey Hammond, has walked 14 miles in just seven days in Ghana to raise money for frontline workers in Africa and his fundraising efforts has attracted royal recognition.
When he was just 16, Private Hammond began serving the Royal West African Frontier Force and later fought in WWII with thousands of other Africans that were recruits of Britain at the time.
Last month, Pte Hammond, successfully walked two miles a day to smash his target on Africa Day in Accra, Ghana. On day 6, before setting off Private Hammond was accompanied by several Ghanaian celebrities including actor Prince David Osei, musician Okyeame Kwam and entrepreneur Debra-Jane Nelson who all prayed for him.
Hammond was inspired by another fundraising veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore who walked 100 laps of his 25-metre garden just before his centenary. Hammond said his goal was to raise £500,000 to help “vulnerable veterans and the frontline workers all involved to kick away COVID-19 from Africa.”
Affectionately known as the Father of Ghana by some, Joseph met Harry and Meghan in 2019 at the ‘Field of Remembrance’ display in London. Prince Harry wrote a letter which showered Joseph with praise, writing of what an honour it was for them to meet him that day.
“To me, a good name is better than riches because of the posterity you leave behind. I will hold this in my heart forever and I will like to thank Prince Harry for this amazing gift.”
In a moving interview with CNN, Pte Hammond was visibly thrilled to receive the letter of support from Harry for his fundraising efforts, so much so that he has decided “to frame it for generations to come and see.”
I received a letter from Prince Harry today.This is such a wonderful surprise. It is absolutely marvellous and I will hold this in my heart forever. I will like to thank Prince Harry for this amazing gift. @RoyalFamily @TheRCSAfrica @GUBAFOUNDATION @forceshelpafri1 @UKinGhana pic.twitter.com/2LBXlLnq3L
— pte.hammond (@pte_hammond) June 12, 2020
“This is such a wonderful surprise. It is absolutely marvellous and I am so overwhelmed to receive this message from such an honourable man. To me, a good name is better than riches because of the posterity you leave behind. I will hold this in my heart forever and I will like to thank Prince Harry for this amazing gift,” Joseph said.
In return for the letter, Private Hammond has also written a letter, for baby Archie, including a gift. He shared the news in a heartwarming video, saying: “May God bless him to achieve a hundred-year life, he will be a great person that all over the world they will hear of him. May God bless him. May God bless you together with your wife, Meghan.”
Funds currently stand at over £36,000 and will be used to buy PPEs and essentials for healthcare operators, as well as help vulnerable veterans in Africa.
The initiative is sponsored by Forces Help Africa – a non-governmental organisation that advocates on behalf of former colonial veterans who served under the British army and the GUBA Enterprise, a social enterprise organisation dedicated to the advancement of the African diaspora and those in Africa.
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