War hero Captain Tom Moore triumphed today as he completed the final 10 lengths of his garden on a zimmer frame – and raised a staggering £12million for the NHS.
The 99-year-old, who has captured the imagination of the public with his heroics, finished the last few steps of his 2,530-yard walk at his home in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire with a beaming smile.
Before Captain Moore started the final leg of his challenge, he was saluted as he stepped out with his frame by four soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment who had travelled up to Bedford to support him.
He was given a rousing greeting on the final stretch of his walk that has seen money donated from people in 53 countries. The Second World War hero bowed his head and smiled as his chest of medals on his suit glinted.
Captain Tom Moore finished the last few steps of his 2,530-yard walk at his home at Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire today
Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, at his home in the Bedfordshire village of Marston Moretaine yesterday
Captain Moore was posted to India where he fought in the Arakan Campaign of 1942 to 1943 during the Second World War
Captain Moore said that NHS workers on the frontline ‘deserve everything we can give them’, telling ITV: ‘I’ve always been one for having a future, I always think things will be good. We’ve fought so many battles and we’ve always won and we’re going to win again.’
His daughter Hannah Ingram Moore told MailOnline she was ‘astonished’ at the £12million so far raised by her father. ‘It is just incredible and I’m sure it is going to go higher when he finishes the walk’, she said.
She added that her father had become ‘a beacon of hope for people’ during challenging times and that the donations were ‘beyond words’.
Ms Moore also said that the local postmaster had already been ‘inundated’ with messages ahead of Captain Moore’s 100th birthday, which is on April 30.
Major Ian Atkins from the Yorkshire Regiment, which is the equivalent of Captain Moore’s in the modern day, said: ‘What can you say, it’s an honour and a privilege for us to be here to support Tom in an outstanding achievement.
‘It’s absolutely fantastic stuff but over £12 million is staggering. We see Tom as a member of the regimental family so to be here to support him is a privilege.’
Captain Tom Moore is pictured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today with his daughter, Hannah Ingram Moore
Captain Moore married Pamela in 1968 and they had two daughters, Lucy and Hannah. The wedding is pictured in 1968
The uniformed soldiers were on hand to cheer on the ‘captain fantastic’ as he steadily completed ten lengths of the garden of his home.
From Yorkshire to India: Captain Tom Moore’s career in the military
Captain Tom Moore was conscripted into the British Army in June 1940 when he was 20, alongside all men aged 20 to 35.
He began his military career in Otley, West Yorkshire, where he joined the 8th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment under Lieutenant Lord George Saville.
The Regiment was sent to train in Wadebridge, Cornwall where they were tasked with coastal defence amid a predicted German invasion.
A young Captain Moore was soon promoted to Corporal and sent to the officer cadet training unit in Droitwich Spa.
Here, he celebrated his 21st birthday after he passed as a Second Lieutenant.
In August 1941, he was sent to the DWR headquarters in Halifax where he joined the 9th Battalion at Winchcombe.
The infantry battalion then converted to an armoured regiment 146th Royal Armoured Corp, though the majority of the soldiers could not drive.
In October, the unit was posted to Bombay, now Mumbai, in India. The journey took six weeks by sea, with a four-day delay in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a four-day stop in Cape Town.
Captain Moore then took a train from Bombay to Poona, before arriving at Kirkee, a town now known as Khadki.
The 9th DWR formed the 50th Indian Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier Schreiber.
Captain Moore was then asked by the Brigadier to start a motorcycling course for the Brigade due to his expertise for the sport.
The Brigade was then ordered to move to Calcutta – the road journey was in a monsoon and took three weeks.
His Battalion was stationed in the Lohardaga district near Ranchi.
They then took part in two exercises in the Arakan before moving further east and south to Rangoon.
Captain Moore was then sent on a course at the approved vehicle depot in Bovington, England.
He remained here as an instructor until it was closed.
Such is the fame of Captain Moore half a dozen police officers were stationed outside the front gate of the home he shared with his daughter and her family.
And he told MailOnline rather than put his feet up for a well-deserved rest he plans to continue walking and raise even more money.
He said: ‘I have completed my 100 laps, but I am going to keep walking because I know that I have the incredible British public behind me every step of the way.
‘I am so completely overwhelmed by the support from everyone, and can’t thank you all enough for supporting my mission to raise money for our beloved NHS’.
Hannah – whom he has lived with for 12 years – said she was bursting with pride at her father who celebrates his 100th birthday later this month.
She said: ‘We knew he could do 100 laps of the garden – no doubt about it, but we never in a million years expected to raise this amount of money.
‘The whole world is talking about Captain Tom Moore, and that makes me incredibly proud as his daughter. I have watched the whole nation fall in love my father, and he deserves all the love, recognition and support for his incredible mission. So thank you from us all!’
The World War Two hero, who joined the army in 1940 when he was 20 years old, had set out to raise £1,000 by slowly walking 100 lengths of his garden before celebrating his 100th birthday on April 30th.
But inspired by messages of support flooding into his family he dashed off 90 lengths in a little over a week. He completed the final 10 laps of the original challenge this morning.
He had wanted to raise the money to thank the NHS staff who had supported him through skin cancer treatment and a broken hip. As word of his fund-raising spread via social media he quickly surpassed the £1,000 total.
More than 180,000 people from around the world have so far donated to his fund raising page. The sum quickly passed a £1million and by Wednesday – a week after he began his epic walk – the total was over £9million.
By completing the final lengths many more donations are expected and MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan has called for him to be knighted.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of the charity on the receiving end of Captain Moore’s fundraising, said: ‘I think I absolutely join the rest of the country in being truly inspired and profoundly humbled by Captain Tom and what he has achieved.
Captain Tom Moore has smashed through his fundraising targets and has now raised more than £12million for the NHS
‘Thank you for being an inspiration and a role model.’
Captain Tom Moore’s interview on GMB today:
Here are some of the thoughts the Second World War hero has had on his fundraising success, the Queen and the brave NHS workers fighting coronavirus:
On the British public donating more than £12:
‘It just shows that were such a generous thoughtful people throughout the country
‘We’re so generous in every way that this sort of money had come along and its for such a super purpose for our doctors our nurses all the back up people deserve everything that we can give them.’
On his values:
‘I really stand for the goodness that we’re all getting at the moment and I’ve always been one for the future I always think things will be good we’ve done so well with our country we’ve fought so many battles we’ve always won and this time we’re going to win again.’
On hearing of the campaign to get him knighted:
‘I would absolutely amazed I mean I really would I find it unbelievable that that is likely to happen I’ve never anticipated anything like that.’
On the Queen:
‘Our Queen is absolutely marvelous we should all be so proud of her she is the leader of the country and she has always been so perfect as far as I’m concerned we couldn’t have a better queen than the one we’ve got.’
What would he say if he met her?
‘I would say: ‘Your Majesty, this is the greatest honour anyone could get, to stand here before you because you’re such a marvelous person.’ But also I’d say to her: ‘Do you remember when you and i were in your father’s Army a long time ago?’ Because remember the Queen was in the army a long time ago she served as well as she could for her age at that time.’
On NHS workers:
‘To all you people in the NHS, all you nurses doctors and backup people, who at this morning at 8 o’clock were all entering into something where you’re putting yourselves in danger for the good of all the people here – you are doing a marvelous marvelous job.’
Advice for a nation on lockdown:
‘I think you’ve got to think that things will be better, that the future is in front of us all. Without doubt things will get better. We should get though this very difficult time. Tomorrow is a good day, we will all get through it in the end.’
Captain Tom began the final laps at 7.45am watched by film crews from BBC and ITV. Before he started, he paid tribute to the NHS and said: ‘I feel fine, being in the Army I’m used to getting up early.’
The former army officer has admitted to being stunned by the response to his fund-raising efforts saying the support has been ‘absolutely fabulous’.
In a rallying call to the nation he added: ‘Let’s all carry on and remember that things will get better,’ Captain Moore said. ‘We have had problems before – we have overcome them – and we shall all overcome the same thing again.’
The money the war hero has raised will go to NHS Charities Together to support workers on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak.
Captain Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the army for the Second World War, rising to captain and serving in India and Myanmar.
He went on to serve on the Arakan in south east Asia before he returned to Britain to become an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington.
His achievements were singled out by Matt Hancock during yesterday’s press conference at Downing Street.
In his opening address, the Health Secretary said: ‘I want to pay a special tribute today to Captain Tom Moore. Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you.’
At that point, donations had surpassed £8 million, but by just after 11pm yesterday the figure had risen by another £2million.
The military veteran wrote on Twitter: ’10 MILLION POUND! Virtutis Fortuna Comes.’
Earlier, he told BBC One: ‘I think that’s absolutely enormous. At no time when we started off with this exercise did we anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money.
‘It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our National Health Service and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money.’
Meanwhile, an eight-year-old girl has started an online campaign for children to make birthday cards for Ca;ptain Moore’s 100th birthday.
Reegan Davies, from Port Talbot, South Wales, set a target of 1,500 virtual cards after posting a video online to thank him for his fundraising efforts.
She says in the video posted on Twitter: ‘You’ve got to make a birthday card for Tom, any social media you post it, and tag £makeacardfortom’.
Donations to NHS Charities Together can be made here