What started as one British veteran’s mission to raise £1,000 for his 100th birthday wrapped up with over £32 million (over CAN $56 million) being raised and a nation coming together during the pandemic.
On April 6, 2020, 24 days before his birthday, Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore, announced his mission – to raise £1,000 the NHS Charities Together, a federation of over 250 charitable organization that support National Health Service (NHS), its staff, volunteers and patients.
Tom’s 100th Birthday Walk for NHS campaign’s objective was to walk one hundred 25 metre laps of his garden, ten laps per day, using his walker. He met his fundraising goal on April 10, at which time he increased the amount to £5,000. Once again, that goal was achieved, and the amount was raised yet again, this time to £500,000.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) April 30, 2020
Capt. Tom, as he is referred to, was inspired to launch his fundraising campaign due to the care he received back in 2018 when he was in the hospital being treated for a broken hip and skin cancer.
“For the sake of the nurses and the NHS we have because they are doing such a magnificent job,” said Capt. Tom to BBC.com.
He achieved his walking objective on April 16, 2020, and from a safe distance, a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, which he has ties through due to his service, marked the occasion.
Along with raising money for the NHS Charity, he has also had a No. 1 hit with his duet, You’ll Never Walk Alone. It took the top spot last week in the UK, making him the oldest person ever to achieve a No. 1 single in the UK.
The Weeknd, who was his leading competitor and was in No. 1, used Twitter to ask people to support Capt. Tom to make him No. 1 for his 100th birthday. The Weeknd’s song Blinding Lights dropped to No. 2.
Capt. Tom has also been appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College Harrogate.
“Colonel Tom Moore has uniquely captured the imagination of the nation during this difficult time. Our staff and Junior Soldiers stand in awe at his achievements and we see his values of his sacrifice and service to one’s country reflected in the College’s ethos.
“Colonel Tom’s benevolence, his steadiness on parade and his determination to give something back are all truly inspirational. To have such a role model for the Army Foundation College, and to count him as one of our own, is a privilege and an honour,” said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hall MBE YORKS, Commanding Officer of AFC Harrogate.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 30, 2020
On the morning of his 100th birthday, April 30, 2020, Moore’s campaign had reached over £30 million. Not only did he receive birthday wishes from around the world, but a Spitfire and Hurricane flew over his house to mark the occasion.
He shared a letter courtesy of his grandson writing it out via Twitter to mark the occasion.
“Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming.
“People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it’s actually what you have done for me which is remarkable.
“I felt a little frustrated and disappointed after I broke my hip and it knocked my confidence. However, the past three weeks have put a spring back in my step. I have renewed purpose and have thoroughly enjoyed every second of this exciting adventure, but I can’t keep walking forever.”
“The donations page will close at midnight this evening. NHS Charities Together still have their urgent appeal, so people can donate to them that way.
“I am going to spend my birthday with my family, both here in person and with my daughter remotely, and then I am going to have a few days’ rest. My legs may be tired, but my mind is racing and I’m hoping to be back very soon with other ways in which I can help people, help others.
“Please always remember, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.”
👇Click below to read about the role of an Honorary Colonel.https://t.co/CibYPnB7Zk
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) May 3, 2020
The Second World War veteran enlisted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (8 DWR), at the beginning of the Second World War. The DWR was eventually merged into the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment in 2006.
In 1940 he was selected for officer cadet training. He commissioned as a second lieutenant on June 28, 1941.
He eventually became a member of the Royal Armoured Corps due to 8 DWR becoming an armoured unit, 145 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.
On October 1, 1942, he was promoted to war-substantive lieutenant and temporary captain on October 11, 1944.
He served in various locations in India: Bombay known today as Mumbai, and Calcutta, today know as Kolkata. He also served in Arakan: western Burma, known as Myanmar today, and Sumatra. By the time the Japanese surrender, Moore had been promoted to the rank of Captain.
When he returned to Britain, he served as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset.
Captain Tom found the woman he would marry when he was 50 years old. He married Pamela in 1968, and they had two daughters. He described his marriage as “a happy time.” His beloved wife, Pamela, passed away in 2006.
Captain Tom lives with his daughter, son-in-law, and their two children.
The final tally raised was £32,796,180, with over 1.5 million supporters. Check out Captain Tom Moore’s birthday wishes on his Twitter page here.
Above image: left, Captain Tom Moore on his 100th birthday, right, Captain Tom Moore and his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, waved to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast.