100-year-old raises more than £60,000 for coronavirus victims while fasting for Ramadan

PUBLISHED: 16:02 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:10 05 May 2020

100-year old Dabirul Islam Choudhury who has taken to his garden to fundraise for Covid-19 victims amid lockdown restrictions and while fasting for the religious festival of Ramadan.  Photograph: Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC)/PA Wire.

100-year old Dabirul Islam Choudhury who has taken to his garden to fundraise for Covid-19 victims amid lockdown restrictions and while fasting for the religious festival of Ramadan. Photograph: Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC)/PA Wire.

A “highly respected” centenarian and Bangladeshi immigrant is raising thousands of pounds for coronavirus victims from his London garden as he fasts for the religious festival of Ramadan.

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Dabirul Islam Choudhury was inspired by the efforts of fellow 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore. Picture: Channel SDabirul Islam Choudhury was inspired by the efforts of fellow 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore. Picture: Channel S

Dabirul Islam Choudhury, from Bow in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, is raising money for those affected by the virus in the UK and overseas by walking laps of his community garden.

Inspired by British Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old began walking 100 laps of the 80-metre garden on April 26 to raise £1,000 - but hit the target within hours.

Since then Choudhury’s JustGiving page has raised more than £60,000 for the Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC) Covid-19 crisis initiative, run by British-Bangladeshi television broadcaster Channel S.

He plans to continue fundraising for the entire month of Ramadan, which takes place this year from April 23 to May 23, while continuing to observe religious fasting.

The RFC initiative raises money for vulnerable individuals during the 30-day period, which is observed by Muslims worldwide as a time of prayer, reflection and community.

“As an individual he is very bright and very bubbly, full of life,” Farhan Musad Khan, project lead for RFC, told the PA news agency.

“We like to invite people who have got a legacy, who have contributed a lot, who are inspiring and Mr Dabirul Choudhury is one of the highest respected individuals in our community.

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“He has a huge following within his family, friends and religious community.”

Choudhury was born on January 1 1920 in British Assam, now modern-day Bangladesh, and moved to London to study English literature in 1957.

He became a community leader in St Albans and has been responsible for many community and fundraising projects over the years.

He is also an accomplished poet and has published thousands of his own poems.

His son, Atique Choudhury, told BBC London: “When we started, we started at a small pace but he’s been increasing his number of laps he’s doing.

“The problem we have is that we have to try and stop him because he wants to carry on.”

He added that his father’s fundraising is crucial to help vulnerable people in other countries.

“In places like Bangladesh, which is where this charity is going to as well, if people aren’t working for a week or two weeks ... they’re starving,” he said.

- Donations can be made online through the JustGiving website.

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