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An inspiration to us all

Clarion

Many people start taking it easy as they get older. Not 101-year-old Mr Choudhury (OBE) who is one of our oldest residents, and lives in Bow. Inspired by the fundraising efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore at the start of the pandemic, Dabirul walked almost 1,000 laps of his communal garden whilst he was fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan last year.

Dabirul, whose nickname is Chacha (uncle), had originally set out to raise £1,000. He met his target in just a few hours but decided to keep on walking up and down the garden, as many as 50 times a day – sometimes doing a little jig or funny walks to pass the time. His incredible efforts have succeeded in raising more than £1 million for the NHS and other charities.

Dabirul's’s achievements were recognised in 2020, when he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In a personal letter to Dabirul, Boris Johnson described his work to help support victims of the pandemic as: “a wonderfully uplifting example of the very best of Britain.” Dabirul has not stopped in his efforts to help others. Earlier this year thousands of people in cities around the world joined his Walk With Dabirul Chacha challenge, which has already generated more than £230,000 to help victims of the pandemic and people living in refugee camps.

“I’m still fit and healthy and able to help people, this is a blessing,” Dabirul said. Born in Assam, (now Bangladesh),  in 1920, Dabirul has always enjoyed exercise and remembers being the fastest in his school running races. He moved to the UK in 1957 to study English literature in London, and in 1960, he set up the first Pakistani football team in the UK. Dabirul later moved to St Albans, where he worked as a community leader, and has been one of our residents since 2007. He walks a lap of the garden at least 30 times a day, as part of his daily routine in what is a great example to others of the benefits of regular exercise.

This article was featured in Your Clarion, our residents' magazine.

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