73-year-old Rajinder Singh is a social media star in the United Kingdom. The “Skipping Sikh” as he is called took on a skipping fundraising challenge for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) during the coronavirus lockdown, raising over GBP 12,000 for NHS charities.
Singh has now been honoured by UK PM Boris Johnson and has been awarded the Points of Light - an honour given to outstanding individual volunteers and people making a change in their community.
Living in Harlington in west London, Singh began filming himself exercising earlier this year, with his videos fetching as many as over 250,000 viewers on YouTube.
"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," said Prime Minister Johnsonin a personal letter 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 wrote.
The Points of Light award is given every weekday by the prime minister. This is the 1410th such award and recognises Singh's fundraising efforts and spreading the simple message of "health is wealth" and "stay active and stay happy".
"I am truly humbled for being awarded the Points of Light award. I love to serve others - it's part of who I am as a Sikh,"Singh said.
"I never thought something like skipping would inspire the world and spread smiles. I'm really grateful for the support and being given this recognition," he added.