Connect with us

News

Captain Sir Tom Moore: Government plans tribute to NHS charity fundraiser

Published

on

The memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore is to be marked “properly and appropriately”, the government said.

The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, died with coronavirus in Bedford Hospital on Tuesday.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said he had “touched the hearts of the nation and we should remember that”.

Meanwhile, dozens of tributes have been left outside the veteran’s home in Marston Moretaine near Bedfordshire.

Capt Sir Tom was admitted to hospital on Sunday and when announcing his death in Tuesday’s family statement, his daughters Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira said they “shared laughter and tears” with their father in their final few hours together and his final year of fundraising had been “nothing short of remarkable”.

He tested positive for Covid-19 last week. His family said due to other medication he was receiving for pneumonia, he was unable to be vaccinated.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hancock said Capt Sir Tom had been “a symbol of people’s resilience during what was an incredibly difficult year” and “on behalf of everybody in the NHS, I’m very grateful”.

The Army veteran won the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden last spring during the first coronavirus lockdown, raising money for NHS Charities Together.

The fundraising group said that “when the time is right” it will also “put together a suitable tribute… in honour of everything he did for the NHS and NHS charities”.

Capt Sir Tom had initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 82ft (25m)-loops of his garden.

But he eventually raised £32,794,701 from more than 1.5 million supporters and was knighted by the Queen in July in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The charity said the total amount would rise to £39m when Gift Aid was taken into account.

Mr Hancock said: “When the NHS was under pressure during the first lockdown – he didn’t just sit at home, he asked the question ‘what can I do to help?’.

“I think that we should find a way to make sure that we mark the memory of Captain Tom and thank him for the contribution he made to the NHS.

“I will ensure that we mark his contribution properly and appropriately at the right moment.

“I think everybody would welcome that… he touched the hearts of the nation and we should remember that.”

A book of condolence is being opened at St Mary’s Church in Marston Moretaine.

Chief nurse at the the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Liz Lees, said it had been their “immense privilege” to care for Capt Sir Tom.

“We share our deepest condolences and sympathies with his family and loved ones at this incredibly sad time,” a statement read.

“We’d also like to say thank you, and pay tribute to [him] for the remarkable contribution he has made to the NHS.”

Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton tweeted that he was “honoured to have had the opportunity to be able to tell him how in awe of him I was”.

“Captain Sir Tom was a true hero and we will never forget the incredible man who brought out the best of us at such a difficult time,” the seven-times world champion from Stevenage said.

Bedfordshire Police said the force was “deeply saddened” by his death.

“Thank you for bringing hope and unity to our nation during such a challenging time,” it tweeted.

Capt Sir Tom joined the Army at the beginning of World War Two, serving in India and Myanmar, then known as Burma.

He was originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire and was made an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate on his 100th birthday.

In December, he went on a family holiday to Barbados after British Airways paid for his flight.

Capt Sir Tom became the oldest person to have a UK number one single when he recorded You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball last year.