A 99-year-old war veteran who has raised millions for the NHS by aiming to walk 100 laps around his garden has reached his goal – but he’s not planning to stop any time soon.
Captain Tom Moore, who served in the Second World War, initially set out to raise £1,000 by challenging himself to walk 100 times around his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday on April 30.
This morning the veteran finished his final four laps and has become the single biggest fundraiser in the history of JustGiving by raising more than £12 million and counting. But Captain Tom, who was a Guard of honour from the first battalion for the Yorkshire regiment, said he will keep walking as long as ‘generous’ people continue to donate to the NHS and key workers.
When asked how he was feeling after completing his final steps, Captain Tom replied: ‘Fine. I’m surrounded by the right sort of people so yes, I feel fine. I hope you’re all feeling fine too!’
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Speaking on Good Morning Britain before his final historic laps, Captain Tom, joined by his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, said his advice to the nation during the pandemic is to remember that ‘we shall all get through it in the end’.
He told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: ‘You’ve got to think things will be better, that the future is in front of us all and that without doubt things will get better and we should get through this very difficult time.
‘And please remember that tomorrow is a good day and we shall all get through it in the end.’
Captain Tom said it has been ‘unbelievable’ the amount of money he has managed to raise and called all the donors ‘super people’, adding that ‘we’ve won so many battles in war and we’re going to win again’.
The veteran, who has become a ‘beacon of hope’, thanked the NHS, who cared for his wife Pamela before her death in 2016. He said she would be ‘overawed by the sum of money’ raised.
‘I think that it just shows that we are such a generous, thoughtful people throughout the country,’ said the father-of-two.
Speaking to medical staff and key workers directly, Captain Tom said: ‘You are all entering into something where you are putting yourself in danger and you’re doing that for the good of the people here. You are doing a marvellous, marvellous job.’
His proud daughter Hannah said despite her dad reaching celebrity status and becoming a national treasure in just 10 days, it feels they’ve been on the journey for months.
‘We’ve shared this story of this incredible person but it’s more than that, I think he’s become a beacon of hope and I think that’s what has compelled people to donate,’ she added.
‘For me I think that we, the British public, have been going through some really dark times and we can all come together for a common purpose,’ she added. ‘We’re an incredible nation of people and we should be so proud of ourselves’.
Several petitions have been campaigning to get Captain Tom, who served in India and Burma, a knighthood for his heroic efforts on and off the battlefield.
Speaking on the possibility of being knighted, Captain Tom said: ‘I would be absolutely amazed. I really would. I find it unbelievable that it is likely to happen – I could’ve never anticipated that.’
The veteran heaped praises on the Queen, who he described as ‘absolutely marvellous’ and pointed out that they have much in common – they both served the army of her father King George VI.
He added: ‘I think we should all be so proud of her, she is the leader of the country and she’s always been so fervent, as far as I’m concerned.
‘We couldn’t have a better Queen than the one we’ve got and I hope she is going to continue for a long time.’
As the veteran approaches his 100th birthday, he said he was looking forward to receiving his letter from Her Majesty, while daughter Hannah said the postman has been ‘inundated’ with cards written to her father from well-wishers.
But Captain Tom concernedly added: ‘Who’s going to send [the Queen] a card when she reaches 100?’
This morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock called Captain Tom ‘an inspiration to us all’.
‘I saw the video a little while ago, a few days ago, and I was just inspired,’ Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast.
‘And then I’ve been following him since, as the amount he has raised has gone up and up and up.
‘Captain Tom, he has served his country in the past and he’s serving his country now, both raising that money for the NHS, for which I know NHS charities are going to be incredibly proud and grateful, but also cheering us all up.
‘And we all need a bit of cheering up sometimes.’
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