Queen’s birthday honours: 100-year-old Dabirul Islam Choudhury made OBE after raising £420,000 for Covid-19 relief

A 100-year-old man who raised thousands for Covid-19 relief while fasting during Ramadan has been made an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Dabirul Islam Choudhury raised more than £420,000 by walking 970 laps of his garden in Bow, east London, during the Islamic holy month, which fell between 23 April and 23 May this year.

“I feel proud they have honoured me for the efforts I have done,” Mr Choudhury said of receiving the honour.

“I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”

Mr Choudhury had initially set himself a challenge to walk 100 laps after being inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Of the total raised, nearly £116,000 was donated to the NHS while the remaining amount was divided between 30 charities in 52 countries as part of the Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC) Covid-19 crisis initiative, run by British-Bangladeshi television broadcaster Channel S.

Speaking about his father’s achievement, Mr Choudhury’s son, Atique, said: ”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 said his work hasn’t finished and he’s going to carry on working and raising money for people affected by Covid.”
He added: “We are very proud of my father for walking his garden and raising money for a great number of people, and getting recognised for the work he’s done is an honour.”

Mr 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 after moving to St Albans and has been responsible for many community and fundraising projects over the years.
Mr Choudhury is also an accomplished poet and has published thousands of his own poems.

His fundraising effort during the pandemic was praised by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who tweeted: “On behalf of @UKLabour, I would like to thank Dabirul Islam Choudhury for his incredible fundraising effort.

“I know he has now raised well over £150,000 for those affected by coronavirus in the UK and Bangladesh. He is an inspiration to us all.”

This year’s list was postponed from June in order to include people, such as medical workers, fundraisers and volunteers, who have been instrumental in the Covid-19 effort.

Of those who have been honoured, 72 per cent have worked tirelessly for their local community, reflecting the huge voluntary effort across the country in response to Covid-19.

Other everyday heroes include Ali Ghorbangholi, 29, and Professor Mark Wilson, 46, co-founders of the GoodSAM app, which has helped mobilise hundreds of thousands of volunteers in support of vulnerable shielded people during lockdown.
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