Second World 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 during the coronavirus pandemic.
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 in the morning sunshine today, he was saluted as he stepped out with his frame by four soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment who had travelled 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 veteran bowed his head and smiled as his chest of medals on his suit glinted.
Speaking after completing the achievement, an emotional Captain Moore said: ‘I never ever dreamt I would be involved in such an occasion. We’re doing so well, and knowing that the reason we started off was for the NHS.
He added: ‘I think you’ve all got to remember that we will get through it in the end, it will all be right but it might take time. All the people finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine again and the clouds will go away.’
Michael Ball then sang You’ll Never Walk Alone from his home, after telling him: ‘It’s an extraordinary achievement. I’ve been trying to think of a song which encapsulates your achievement and what you have done for us.’
Captain Tom Moore was given a rousing greeting on the final part of his walk today that has seen donations pour in
Captain Moore, a 99-year-old veteran, completing the 100th length of his garden at his home in Marston Moretaine today
Captain Tom Moore finished the last few steps of his 2,530-yard walk at his home at Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire today
Asked about the song, Captain Moore said: ‘First of all, Michael is such a super singer. I think it’s true that people, we will not walk alone, wherever you are there are other people thinking about you thinking that soon everything will be better and we will all be smiling again.’
After sitting down alongside his daughter he watched a compilation of sportsmen and celebrities praising him for his achievement, including cricketer Ben Stokes, former racing driver Damon Hill and TV personality Judge Judy.
The colonel of his former regiment, Brigadier Andrew Jackson, described him as a ‘legend’. Later tears welled up in Captain Moore’s eyes during a BBC interview when told he had been an inspiration to millions.
Asked about what he thinks about potentially being knighted, Captain Moore said: ‘It would be marvellous to have such an honour but I don’t expect anything like that. I think it would be absolutely enormous if i was knighted, to be Sir Thomas Moore, I have never heard of anything like that before
And speaking about the Queen, he added: ‘I think the Queen is marvellous and doing such a terrific job because all the time she’s been queen she has been the leader of the country – and I have the highest regard for her. I hope she continues as queen for a very long time.
And on his 100th birthday on April 30, Captain Moore said: ‘Well originally we were going to have a big party here with all my friends and relations and we were all imagining what it would be like.
Captain Moore was saluted this morning by four soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment who had travelled to support him
Captain Moore, pictured today, has raised £12million for the NHS after receiving donations to his fundraising challenge
Captain Tom Moore has made media headlines around the world, with donations made from people in 53 different countries
‘For so long people have said ‘are you going to have a birthday party?’ probably hoping be invited, but I’m afraid that can’t happen now because they all have to stay six metres away from me.
‘I hope I’m moving just as well as you at 50 never mind 100’: What celebrities said to Captain Moore
After he completed his final lap today, Captain Moore was played a series of tributes from the likes of cricketer Ben Stokes and Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Here is what they had to say:
- Cricketer Ben Stokes: ‘Hi Tom, Ben Stokes here. What you have managed to achieve is absolutely fantastic, the funds that you have managed to raise for the real heroes today is absolutely sensational. I hope that I’m moving just as well as you at 50 never mind 100. Keep up all the great work and you should be seriously proud of what you have done.’
- Judy Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy: ‘Captain Moore, we are truly impressed on this side of the pond. I think you are remarkable, I think what you have done is an inspiration so congratulations.’
- Former racing driver Damon Hill: ‘I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done, I think it’s amazing. Congratulations on a brilliant idea and pulling it off and doing it all before you 100th birthday and donating millions and millions of pounds to the NHS what an incredible achievement. What a very generous thing to have done.’
- Ward 4B at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital: ‘This is a message for Captain Tom Moore, thank you so much for all of your efforts and how much you have raised for the NHS.’
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak: ‘What you’ve done is extraordinary and the millions of pounds you’ve raised for the NHS will be put to good use as we continue to tackle this virus together. As an adopted Yorkshireman, I’ve come to recognise true Yorkshire grit and your story is an inspiration to us all. It just goes to show that British spirit is as strong as it’s ever been.’
- Brigadier Andrew Jackson: ‘On behalf of the whole Yorkshire regiment family, I’d like to say thank you to you, Captain Tom Moore for your amazing fundraising efforts on behalf of the NHS. When I last looked, you had raised over £8million and that number continues to rise. Captain Moore you are an absolute legend and you come from an exceptional generation who are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today. Thank you, and good luck in completing your endeavour.’
‘But today really is something special with all you here and all the kind people watching and all you presenting money. And that is enough for me – and I hope you’re all well enough to be here when we do have a proper party.
‘But that won’t happen for while because we are going to be locked in for a bit longer. I do feel for people in a very confined space for week after week, it must be very, very difficult – and I present my congratulations to all of you who are sticking to the rules and staying in your own homes.’
Claire Baxter, who works for his local surgery and spotted his skin cancer, said today that she was ‘teary’ about his achievements, adding: ‘We’re very proud of him, we adore him and we are honoured to be able to look after him.
‘He is a true gentleman. I do truly love him. He is every time he comes in. He’s seen me since May twice a week for dressings and he comes in always with a smile on his face – how I am, how my family are. We both enjoy Formula One, so we talk about that. He’s a joy to see. We miss him very much but we’re glad he’s safe and well.’
Ian Lush, chairman of NHS Charities Together, which Captain Moore is supporting, said: ‘It was extraordinary, I feel a particular personal connection because Captain Tom was in Burma in India at the end of the war, and so was my late father who was Major Cecil Lush of the engineers, and they may well have met.’
‘It’s extraordinary to see the amount of money and the outpouring of good will towards the NHS and towards all the NHS charities who will take good care of the money that he’s raising.
Asked what happens to the money, he said: ‘There are about 150 NHS charities which will benefit from this money, we are a membership organisation and now a huge fundraising organisation, I’m the chairman, and I run one of the 150 charities that’s Imperial Health Charity – we support three hospitals.
‘We’re spending money on supporting the staff in the crisis time, we’re supporting wellbeing, we’re doing pods for them to sleep in the hospitals so they don’t have to go home between shifts.
‘We’re doing counselling, we’re doing all sorts of stuff, but we’re also putting money aside so that we have money to see us through over the next 18 months or so to support the staff.
‘We also support patients and families with our welfare grants, so there’s lots of different ways the money will be used. We’re all charities with a lot of experience of using this sort of funds, so we’ll make sure it goes to the right places.’
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
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’ in challenging times and that the donations were ‘beyond words’ as the country battles through a pandemic that has claimed more than 12,000 lives.
Ms Moore also said that the local postmaster had already been ‘inundated’ with messages ahead of Captain Moore’s 100th birthday, which is coming up in a fortnight’s time on April 30.
Major Ian Atkins from the Yorkshire Regiment, which is the equivalent of Captain Moore’s in the modern day, said at his home today: ‘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 £12million is staggering. We see Tom as a member of the regimental family so to be here to support him is a privilege.’
The uniformed soldiers were on hand to cheer on the ‘captain fantastic’ as he steadily completed ten lengths of the garden of his home.
Earlier, Captain Moore had 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.’
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
Such is the fame of Captain Moore, half a dozen police officers were stationed outside the front gate of the home he shares with his daughter and her family.
And Captain Moore told MailOnline rather than put his feet up for a well-deserved rest he plans to continue walking and raise even more money.
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.
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 Second World War 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.
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 ten 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 fundraising page. The sum quickly passed a £1million and by yesterday – 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. Thank you for being an inspiration and a role model.’
Captain Tom began the final laps at 7.45am today, 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 fundraising efforts saying the support has been ‘absolutely fabulous’.
Captain Tom Moore has smashed through his fundraising targets and has now raised more than £12million for the NHS
In a rallying call to the nation he added: ‘Let’s all carry on and remember that things will get better. We have had problems before – we have overcome them – and we shall all overcome the same thing again.’
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.’
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 Captain 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’.
JustGiving said Captain Moore has raised the largest total ever for a single campaign on the website.
A spokesman added: ‘To celebrate reaching the £10million milestone, and the completion of his 100 Laps Challenge, Blackbaud, JustGiving’s parent company, has donated £100,000 to NHS Charities Together through Captain Tom’s campaign. This is the largest donation JustGiving has ever made.
‘Captain Tom’s amazing campaign has broken lots of records – it’s the largest total raised on JustGiving, the fastest growing campaign on the platform and has attracted donations and media coverage from around the world.
‘In addition to today’s £100,000 donation, JustGiving abolished platform fees in March 2019 and moved to a voluntary contributions model. This change has saved £20million for charities since in the last year.’
Donations to NHS Charities Together on Captain Tom Moore’s JustGiving page can be made here