Captain Sir Tom Moore has been awarded the freedom of his home town of Keighley after raising almost £33 million for the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 100-year-old war veteran, who became a national hero after walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire to fundraise for the NHS, was given the honour during a ceremony at the West Yorkshire town today.
The prestigious award comes just months after Captain Sir Tom Moore was honoured with the Freedom of the City of London in a virtual ceremony.
Describing the moment he became an honorary freeman of Keighley as a ‘privilege’, Sir Tom said: ‘I remain truly humbled and grateful for the support I have received from far and wide but the warm reception I have received coming home is particularly special to me. It really is great to be back.’
Captain Sir Tom Moore was awarded with the freedom of his home town of Keighley during a special ceremony at the Town Hall Square in Keighley, West Yorkshire, today
The 100-year-old war veteran said he was ‘truly humbled and grateful’ for the support he had received
Sir Tom Moore was greeted by members of the Yorkshire Regiment for the special ceremony at the Town Hall Square in Keighley
The war veteran was greeted by an honour guard from members of the Yorkshire Regiment for the special ceremony at the Town Hall Square in Keighley town centre.
His family also watched as a plaque was unveiled in his honour.
Captain Sir Tom had set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire before his 100th birthday on April 30.
His efforts struck a chord with national feeling, and praise and donations flooded in with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he ‘provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus’ and recommended he be knighted.
Becoming an honorary freeman of Keighley is the highest honour the council can bestow on anyone, according to town mayor Peter Corkindale.
He hoped Captain Sir Tom could see ‘just how proud we are of him and his wonderful achievements’.
Mr Corkindale said: ‘I know from speaking to many people in Keighley, the exploits of Captain Sir Tom Moore during lockdown was just the pick-me-up they needed.
‘I am not sure he will ever realise just what a difference he has made to so many people up and down the country.’
The war veteran was given the prestigious award during a ceremony in West Yorkshire today
A plaque was also unveiled in the town centre in honour of the 100-year-old war veteran
In May, Captain Tom Moore was honoured with the Freedom of the City of London in a virtual ceremony.
The war veteran, who sat beside his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore during the ceremony, was lauded as a ‘credit to the country’ by William Russell, the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
During the ceremony Captain Tom swore an oath to be ‘good and true to our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second’ and to keep ‘the Queen’s Peace’.
He was also asked to give a ‘wave of the pen’ to symbolically sign the document.
The ancient tradition is believed to date back to 1237 and the ceremony was the first ever to be conducted by video-link.
Others honoured with the status include Edward Jenner, the man who discovered the vaccination against smallpox, founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale and Winston Churchill.
Captain Tom Moore (bottom right, with his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore) is seen alongside Dr Peter Kane, the Chamberlain of London (bottom left), Lord Mayor William Russell and his wife Hilary (top right), and Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court (top left)
Captain Tom Moore had initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire this April
Earlier this year, the head of the Armed Forces Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, paid homage to the war veteran and said he ’embodies the sense of service and duty ingrained’ in Britain’s military.
Speaking at a daily coronavirus press conference, Sir Nick said: ‘I think everyone would agree that Captain Tom Moore embodies the sense of service and duty ingrained in our Armed Forces.
‘Our Armed Forces are drawn from every part of the United Kingdom and much of the Commonwealth and they take great pride in serving the communities that they are part of.
‘Everyone is experiencing real challenges at the moment and it makes me feel immensely proud of our collective national effort in pulling together behind those on the front line to combat this unprecedented challenge which I firmly believe we will defeat together.’