Toddler starts Walking Challenge as Tribute to Grandad

A toddler has started a walking challenge, inspired by Captain Tom Moore, in memory of her grandfather who tragically died from Covid-19.

Toddler starts Walking Challenge as Tribute to Grandad f

"in his eyes, she could do no wrong."

A toddler has embarked on a walking challenge in memory of her grandfather who passed away from Covid-19.

Mohammed Shafi was admitted to hospital. Whilst in hospital, he contracted Covid-19 and sadly died in December 2020.

The 80-year-old was known in Leicester for his charity work.

His family decided they wanted to do something in his memory to support others. When they noticed two-year-old Jemima Akhtar had started to walk easily without needing her pushchair they set her up to do a Captain Tom Moore sponsored walk in Mohammed’s honour.

So far, Mohammed’s granddaughter has raised more than £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation, surpassing the £350 target.

The toddler’s mother, Suzana Akhtar told Leicester Mercury:

“He had a special relationship with her and in his eyes, she could do no wrong.

“Jemima was walking along with us with her little pram and we realised that she walked the whole way contently, without stopping or asking us to pick her up or getting tired.

“She did so well and we just sort of put two and two together and decided to set-up a fundraising page.

“It was also a way for us to give back in the way that my dad would have wanted us to and the way he taught us all.”

Mohammed had heart problems before his death, which is why his family chose the British Heart Foundation as the charity.

He spent more than 30 years as a foster carer for children in the city and his wife continues to foster children with the help of Suzana and her family.

Mohammed had more than 30 grandchildren but accepted the foster children as his own as he was “keen on keeping the unity there” within his family.

Suzana said: “A lot of the people he fostered who are now adults still call him dad.

“People in the community described him as a legend. As a taxi driver, he once helped out one of his customers who was lost and took him home for dinner.

“He was a food-lover and he had one of those homes you couldn’t leave without having had a three-course meal first.”

“January 2 would have been his 81st birthday and Jemima which will be later marked by another charity walk.

“She will be joined by her eight-year-old brother, Jamaal who has been supporting her along the way.

“Although Jemima is too young to quite understand the passing of her grandfather, her mum said the fundraiser would also serve as a “special memory” that the two-year-old can look back on when she is older.”

The family hope to raise more money for charity.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”