UK High Commissioner to Ghana Ian Walker has announced, a 1,000km ride on a bicycle to raise funds in support of plastic surgery at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The 10-day ride on a bicycle is dubbed the Ghana Grand Tour. It is expected to start in August and will see the diplomat ride through Ashanti region and end in the Volta region.

Ian Walker in an interview with JoyNews’ Kojo Yankson at his residence in Accra called the trip “challenging”.

“I have never cycled 1,000km before”, the High Commissioner who bikes 13miles to work when he is in the UK said.

But he said he is undertaking an adventure on a bike because beyond its health benefits, burn victims need support.

He said about 300,000 people die of burns worldwide. “It is so needless” Ian Walker said and noted the fate of burn victims in Ghana is bleak because of the shortage of plastic surgeons.

Criss-crossing the country on a bike, he hopes, is a way of getting Ghanaians involved in helping to fund the efforts of the Burns Unit at Ghana’s largest hospital.

Ian Walker
Photo: Ian Walker has been UK High Commissioner since August 2017

He also pointed out, he is looking forward to exploring the country’s tourism potential. He would like to see Mount Afadja in the Volta region, the tallest in Ghana.

The UK High Commissioner praised Ghana’s hospitality and called the less than positive image Africa has as “completely unjustified.”

He expressed hope that the 1-000km ride which will be publicised on the High Commission’s social media pages will show Ghana and her welcoming people to the world.

Ian Walker said he has found Ghana as a place of ambition and a place of hope which the world must see.

“You don’t necessarily want to go and visit somewhere because of a particularly large monument.”

“You go somewhere because you want to feel welcome and there are not many places you feel welcome than Ghana in my experience.”

The ride will be on a bamboo bike made in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi by Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative.

Bamboo bike
Photo: The Ghana-made Bamboo bike

The bamboo-bicycle producing company began about a decade ago and exports to UK, several countries in Europe, the United States and Israel.

The UK High Commissioner was full of praise for the quality of the bicycle and expressed hope that Ghana will buy into the culture of cycling to work, a popular practice across Europe.

Ian Walker
Photo: Ian Walker with JoyNews Kojo Yankson

Ian Walker and Kojo Yankson got onto the bikes and cycled around the Commissioner’s residence as he prepares to go solo for 1,000km.