A BRITISH soldier barely able to read or write when he joined the army a decade ago has been awarded a rare honour.

Ghana-born Lance Corporal Nyame Ayeh Assoun - known as Sony - is the recipient of the Deputy Commander's Commendation, which was announced in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Sony, who was based in Blandford and serves with the Royal Corps of Signals, is currently studying for a degree.

But determined not to forget friends and former neighbours, he decided to raise funds to build an IT suite in his hometown of Nsuaem in the Wasa West district.

He established charity Assuon Foundation Trust (AFT) and aims to £35,000 for the computers.

Matt Horan of Dorset-based cyber-security company C3IA Solutions supports Sony's charity.

A former Royal Signaller himself, Matt said: “When Sony presented to us his enthusiasm, energy and passion for his charity shone through and we agreed to help him there and then.”

The citation for Sony's honour reads: “Lance Corporal Assuon’s upbringing in the remote village of Nsueam epitomises the paucity of Ghanaian education: his involved reading and writing on scraps of paper beneath the shade of a large tree, and where school was cancelled in adverse weather due to a lack of any shelter.

“It was not until he arrived in the UK to join the British Army and walked into a computer retail outlet that he first saw a laptop and the ease of access to IT.

“Amazed, he immediately dedicated himself to providing similar facilities to his home.

“His charity’s mission is to provide an information library, or learning hub, in the centre of the Wasa West district for the use of the surrounding schools’ 3,500 students."

Sony has also been commended for his "energy, drive and selfless nature".

The soldier said: “It was a huge surprise and a great honour to receive this commendation.

“All I wanted to do was provide IT opportunities to people from my part of Ghana. The children learn computer theory in school, but there are no computers for them to use.

“With the generosity of people and businesses such as C3IA Solutions we’re well on the way to providing IT facilities in Nsuaem.”