A meeting with a courageous group of amputee footballers as he walked along a beach in Africa this year has inspired veteran volunteer Doctor Keith Thomson to start a fund raising website.

Doctor Thomson, 72, of Winkfield Road, North Ascot, is a veteran volunteer on the 'mercy ships' that tour Africa giving medical treatment to people in need. 

He met members of the Freetown Amputee Football Club while walking along the Lumley beach in March and was inspired by their courage.

He was in Africa to attend the wedding of a woman whose life he saved when he paid for her mother to have an emergency Caesarian operation that saved both their lives - while he was on the 'mercy ships'.

Doctor Thomson, who used to work as an anaesthetist at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, said: "The 60 members of the Freetown Amputee Football Club are more challenged than most of us in these extraordinary times.

"The majority lost limbs as young children to the Revolutionary United Front's weapon of choice - the machete, during the 1999 rebel invasion of Sierra Leone.

"Like many less privileged people in Sub-Saharan Africa, they live a hand to mouth existence – which means what you earn during a day is what you eat. During lockdown this becomes especially difficult when you normally survive by begging or doing small trading on the streets.

"Donating £27, the cost of a 25 kg bag of rice, will feed a footballer and a few dependents for a month. Any contributions will be much appreciated."

The young amputee footballers are mainly in their 20s and include women as well as men.

Doctor Thomson only went live with his fundraising website last week and £1,000 has already been donated after only six days.

He said: "Many of the footballers live by petty trading or begging on the streets. During 'lockdown' this becomes a real problem in Africa. So more are likely, particularly children, to die from starvation rather than the virus."

You can contribute by visiting https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/Food4footballers