Captain Tom Moore: Record-breaking NHS fundraiser dies aged 100

Captain Tom Moore: Record-breaking NHS fundraiser dies aged 100

WWII veteran raised more than £30 million for NHS in first wave of coronavirus pandemic

Kate Ng
Tuesday 02 February 2021 23:41
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Captain Tom Moore, who captured Britain’s heart as he raised more than £30 million for the NHS last year, has died at the age of 100.

The centenarian was admitted to Bedford hospital on 31 January, a week after he tested positive for Covid-19, following treatment for pneumonia.

His daughters, Hannah and Lucy, said in a statement that, “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore.

"We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, Benjie and Georgia by his bedside and Lucy on FaceTime. We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

"The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of."

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Captain Tom, a WWII veteran, became the nation’s sweetheart after he set an initial goal of raising £1,000 by his 100th birthday in April 2020 by walking around his garden in Maston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, with a walking frame.

He went on to raise around £33 million for the NHS, breaking two Guinness world records. He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth and became the oldest artist to claim a UK No 1 single for his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care choir.

The Queen and prime minister were among hundreds of thousands of people who paid tributes to the hero almost within minutes of the announcement of his passing.

The Royal Family’s Twitter account said: "The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore. 

“Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them."

Boris Johnson labelled him a “hero in the truest sense of the word”.

The prime minister said: "In the dark days of the Second World War he fought for freedom and in the face of this country's deepest post war crisis he united us all, he cheered us all up, and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit.  

"It is quite astonishing that at the age of 100 he raised more than £32 million for the NHS, and so gave countless others their own chance to thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us through the pandemic.

"He became not just a national inspiration but a beacon of hope for the world. Our thoughts are with his daughter Hannah and all his family. "

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I'm so sorry to hear that Captain Tom has passed away in hospital. He was a great British hero that showed the best of our country."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote: "A proud Yorkshire man. A dedicated Army Officer. A tireless fundraiser. And above all, an inspiration to us all. Rest in peace Captain Tom."

Sir Kier Starmer said Britian had “lost a hero.”

In a tweet, the Labour leader added: “Captain Tom Moore put others first at a time of national crisis and was a beacon of hope for millions.”

He also received praise from across the Atlantic, with a statement published by US president Joe Biden’s White House to Twitter stating: “We join the United Kingdom and the world in honouring the memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who inspired millions through his life and his actions.”

Among those paying their condolences were sporting icons and pop stars alike.

Louis Tomlinson, from the boy band One Direction, said: “A truly remarkable man who's message lives on as inspiration for us all to do more whatever our situation.”

David Beckham, who met the campaigner last year, added: "When our country and our world was struggling you gave us hope, put a smile on our faces and made us believe that tomorrow would be a good day. Rest in Peace Sir Tom."

Before his death on Tuesday, Captain Tom had already received hundreds of thousands of “get well” messages, including from prime minister Boris Johnson, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, the British army and the England football team.

Mr Johnson said on 1 February that he spoke to Captain Tom’s family after it was revealed he had been admitted to hospital and called him “an inspiration to everybody in this country during this pandemic”.

Captain Tom had not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine before he fell ill because of medication he had been taking for pneumonia. In December, he had travelled to Barbados on vacation with his family after British Airways paid for his flight.

Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in 1920, he joined the military in 1940 and became a member of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1941. He went on to serve in India, and then in Arakan in Myanmar, where he survived Dengue fever before returning to the UK in 1945.

His record-breaking fundraising went towards charity organisation NHS Charities Together, which said the money has helped patients, their families and carers during their most isolated and stressful moments throughout the pandemic.

A significant proportion of donations that went into the Urgent Covid-19 Appeal came from Captain Tom’s fundraising efforts, and was a key part of the initial tranche of funding which helped meet urgent needs on the ground during the first wave of coronavirus infections.

Captain Tom is survived by his daughters Hannah and Lucy, and four grandchildren.

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