A 73-year-old British Sikh, who shot to fame as the "Skipping Sikh" after he took up a skipping challenge to raise funds for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) during the coronavirus lockdown, has been awarded the Points of Light honour by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers and people making a change in their community. To recognise their inspirational volunteer work, they are honoured every weekday by the UK PM.
Over three months ago, Rajinder Singh had started the skipping challenge at his home in Harlington near London to raise funds for the NHS. Till date, he has raised over 13,000 pounds through his initiative. A former Heathrow Airport driver, Singh received a letter of appreciation from UK PM Boris Johnson on Friday.
"Your 'Skipping Sikh' fitness videos have given a lift to the thousands of people worldwide who have watched online and taken part with you in your daily exercise, and provided an ingenious way of bringing together and energising the Sikh community at a time when temples have been closed," the PM said in a personal letter addressed to Singh.
"I wanted to write personally to thank you for all that you are doing to support our extraordinary NHS, and encouraging the nation to pick up their skipping ropes and keep their spirits high by taking on your lockdown skip challenge," he added.
Singh was inspired by 100-year-old World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore, who raised over £30 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden.
"The idea to start a skipping challenge came as I was spending time in isolation during the lockdown in March after the pandemic started. I was very much inspired by Captain Tom Moore and my daughter Minreet Kaur wanted to set a challenge for me. As I am very fond of skipping, she told me to start this Skipping Sikh challenge," Singh told The Indian Express.
"I am glad that over the course of the last three months, I have been able to raise 13,450 pounds for the NHS and I am overwhelmed by the support. To be recognised as one of the Points of Light by UK PM is a great honour for me and I wish more and more people can join the challenge and help NHS in such times," he added.
Originally belonging to Devidas Pura village near Amritsar, Singh and his father Naik Makhan Singh serving in British Indian Army in the Second World War, had moved to England in 1960s.
"I worked as a driver before and retired in 2018. I was an active runner and ran in marathons and also love cycling. Growing up in my village near Amritsar, I had learnt to skip from my father and I found it as the easiest sport in terms of setting up anywhere," Singh said.Also Read: England: 5-Yr-Old Amputee Takes Up 10 Km Walk Challenge To Raise Money For Hospital That Saved His Life