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Prince of Stoke Park

PUBLISHED: 21:20 06 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

THIS is the African prince who lives on an Ipswich estate and is studying accountancy.

Remarkably few know George Antwi's secret - that he is a bona fide African prince who has lived on the Stoke Park estate for the last 14 years.

THIS is the African prince who lives on an Ipswich estate and is studying accountancy.

Remarkably few know George Antwi's secret - that he is a bona fide African prince who has lived on the Stoke Park estate for the last 14 years.

But Mr Antwi, who is now launching a charity aimed at helping people in his homeland, insists that the position in his native Ghana is "no big deal" and draws few parallels with the British monarchy.

He said: "We have a royal family in each region, it isn't the same as here. I am here to move on and improve the system."

Currently Mr Antwi is studying accountancy at Suffolk College and hopes to use his acquired knowledge to move back to Ghana and eventually campaign to become President.

He added: "In Ghana if you are from the royalty you can still stand for election. I want to improve the lifestyle in Ghana and make it more British. I want to help my people.

"When it is a certain time I will have to go back."

And the 42-year-old, whose sister is Queen of Ghana's Eastern Region hasn't forgotten his roots.

Today he is using his position to create a charity to benefit those in his homeland.

The Ghanaian Water Purification Fund has been set up to raise money to provide water tanks for those in the northern, remote region of Ghana.

The hope is that this will eradicate the guinea worm, a parasite which gets into drinking water and uses humans as a host.

Mr Antwi said: "You get a skin rash like a blister, the person acts as a host and in time the worm comes up through the skin.

"It is very painful to them and there is no medication at the moment."

The sensation is often soothed by immersion in water where the worm liberates its larvae and continues the cycle.

Although Mr Antwi was already aware of the problem he witnessed it first hand when he returned to Ghana in October and decided something must be done.

He has now set up the fund which will be used to supply filtration tanks and to educate those living in the area. Although the standard of education in Ghana is high the cause and effect of the guinea worm is often ignored because it doesn't affect enough people.

Mr Antwi estimates that the cost of the project will be somewhere in the region of £20,000 with each filtration tank costing £20.

"There are boreholes already but the population is so much that people fight over the boreholes.

"It could take about five years, as it is such a large area, to educate and convince people and to give equipment.

"This month I will go to Ghana and properly execute the project and recruit officers. I need the help of local people, chiefs and the council.

"We will organise education in the town and the community centres."

Mr Antwi can use his position in Ghana to promote the charity with the help of his sister, the Queen.

She ran a similar charity in Ghana but it became inactive three years ago due to lack of funding.

He added: "My sister is aware and she will be actively involved.

"Part of her role is to do charity work and see to the village's needs.

"The Queen is the main governor of the area and provides the needs of the people and links with the government."

To make a donation to the fund send cheques made payable to the Ghanaian Water Purification Fund C/O Paul Hewitt or George Antwi, AXA Liabilities Managers UK, Civic Drive, Ipswich IP1 2AN.

Or for further information about the charity contact Kim Holmes on 01473 205174.

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Source World Health Organisation (WHO)

Dracunculiasis is a disease caused by the parasitic worm Dracunculus medinensis or Guinea worm.

The guinea worm is the largest of the tissue parasites affecting humans.

The adult female, which carries about 3 million embryos, can measure 600 to 800 mm in length and 2 mm in diameter.

The parasite migrates through the victim's subcutaneous tissues causing severe pain especially when it occurs in the joints.

The worm eventually emerges (from the feet in 90% of the cases), causing an intensely painful oedema, a blister and then an ulcer accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting.

According to Mr Antwi, the guinea worm's cycle is continued by grazing birds which carry the disease. When they churn up mud at the water's edge the worm finds its way back into the water supply.

Country Profile

Ghana is situated on the southern west African coastline.

It was known as the Gold Coast whilst under British colonial rule because of its abundance of the mineral.

The country is 239,000 sq km in size.

The population was estimated at 20.3 million in 2003.

There are 75 spoken languages in Ghana, each associated with a distinct ethnic group. The largest are the Akan which comprises approximately half the population. Mr Antwi's people speak Twi which is a language familiar to most Ghanians.

69 per cent of Ghanians are Christian, 16pc Muslim while 9pc follow other traditional and indigenous religions.

The capital of Ghana is Accra.

The currency is the Cedi.

Ghana's Head of State is President John Kufuor.

Ghana is a member of the Commonwealth, United Nations (UN), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union.

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