This is the heartwarming moment Second World War hero Captain Tom Moore watches a video message recorded by Prince William and Kate Middleton – who exclaim that he is a ‘one man fundraising machine who’s inspired everyone’.
The 99-year-old has captured the imagination of the public during the coronavirus lockdown by walking 100 laps of his garden and finished his 2,530-yard trek at his home in the Bedfordshire village of Marston Moretaine with a huge smile yesterday.
He has so far raised more than £18million for the NHS through his JustGiving page – with £5million raised in the last 24 hours alone – and has been lauded for his actions with Boris Johnson‘s official spokesman last night hinting at a possible knighthood for the war veteran.
More than 800,000 have signed online petitions calling for ‘Sir Tom’ to be knighted. Captain Moore, who turns 100 on April 30, only planned to raise £1,000 when he started out on his fundraising journey.
This morning, footage emerged of Captain Moore watching a video in which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge praised him for his remarkable achievement.
Overjoyed by the message, Captain Moore, whose appeal has also received an undisclosed donation from William and Kate, said it was ‘absolutely amazing’ to hear his ‘super prince’ say such kind words about his fundraising efforts.
The Duke of Cambridge praised Captain Moore for his fundraising efforts during an interview on BBC Breakfast this morning
Prince William said of Captain Moore’s efforts in an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning: ‘It’s incredible. It’s amazing. What I love also is that he’s a 99-year-old war vet, he’s been around a long time, he knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination.
‘I think he’s a one man fundraising machine and God knows what the final total will be but good on him. I hope he keeps going’.
To which Captain Moore responds, after watching the interview: ‘Well that I think that is absolutely amazing. That my super prince can say something like that.’
Last night Boris Johnson‘s official spokesman hinted at a possible knighthood and said: ‘Tom has demonstrated a lifetime of bravery and compassion. The PM will certainly be looking at ways to recognise Tom and his efforts’.
Captain Moore said: I’d be amazed to have such an honour and meet our absolutely marvellous Queen. It’s unbelievable that it could happen.’
He added: ‘I’m a huge fan of everything Her Majesty has done for this country. I don’t think I’m a global phenomenon at all — just a grandad doing some laps of his garden,’ according to The Sun.
He has so far raised more than £18million for the NHS through his JustGiving page – with £5million raised in the last 24 hours alone – and has been lauded for his actions with Boris Johnson ‘s official spokesman last night hinting at a possible knighthood for the war veteran
Artist Rachel List poses after painting a mural of Captain Tom Moore in Pontefract, West Yorkshire today. The Second World War veteran has been hailed a hero
Before he 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 finishing, an emotional Captain Moore told BBC Breakfast: ‘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.
How Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising has gone from zero to £17.7million in a week
- April 9: Captain Tom Moore and his family launch the ‘Captain Tom Moore’s 100th Birthday Walk for the NHS’ fundraising on JustGiving with a £1,000 target
- April 10, 2pm: Fundraising reaches £1,000 target in 24 hours, and family set new £100,000 target
- April 11, 7pm: The £100,000 target is reached and a new aim of £250,000 is set
- April 12, 2.30pm: Fundraiser hits £250,000 after Captain Moore appears on BBC Radio 2 and talks to the singer Michael Ball
- April 14, 12pm: Captain Moore’s donations hit £1million
- April 15, 10am: Donations get to £5million
- April 15, 5pm: Health Secretary Matt Hancock praises him as an ‘inspiration’ as donations get to £8million
- April 15, 11pm: The fundraiser reaches £10million
- April 16, 7am: Donations get to £12million
- April 16, 12pm: The fundraiser hits £13million
- April 16, 3pm: It gets to £14million three hours later
- April 17, 9am: It gets to £17.7million raising £5million in just 24 hours
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.’
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 Breakfast interview when told he had been an inspiration to millions.
Asked about what he thinks about potentially being knighted, Captain Moore told the programme: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Captain Moore was posted to India where he fought in the Arakan Campaign of 1942 to 1943 during the Second World War
Captain Moore is pictured front centre during his days in the Army. He joined the Armed Forces in 1940 when he was aged 20
Captain Moore married Pamela in 1968 and they had two daughters, Lucy and Hannah. The wedding is pictured in 1968
Captain Moore has now set his sights on raising £20million for the NHS, telling MailOnline: ‘As long as people want to give money, then I am going to keep walking. People have been generous and it is marvellous that so much money has been offered.
‘Who knows how much we will finally get, but it would be great to get even more so that it can go to the NHS. If we could get £15million or £20million that would be wonderful.’
Told that he was now the largest individual fundraiser ever on the JustGiving website, he added: ‘That is a nice record to break. Records are there to be broken and I’m very happy that it is this cause that has benefited so much.’
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.
The 99-year-old gave the thumbs up and enjoyed a welcome hug from his daughter and grandchildren as he posed for the media following his 100th lap of his garden.
The war veteran had a rest after the exertions of his early morning walk to complete the 100 laps of his garden. ‘Just a little rest,’ he joked.
But within an hour he was back pushing his wheeled Zimmer frame around the paved area of the large garden as he chatted with his grandson Benji, 16, and granddaughter Georgia,11.
He had been thrilled to meet soldiers from the modern day version of the regiment he had served in after being conscripted in 1940 when he was 20 years old.
Captain Moore said seeing the soldiers give him a guard of honour had given him a boost as he walked the final lap.
‘They were great lads and so nice that they could be here,’ he said. ‘I was with the Duke of Wellington’s regiment that was formed into the Yorkshire Regiment where they are from. It was lovely to see them here.’
His grandson Benji said the war veteran was an inspiration to people his age, adding: ‘I’ve always known what a strong character he was and if anyone was going to do this it was our granddad.
‘He’s a proud Yorkshireman and what he has achieved is just incredible and makes me so proud. I know he will want to keep walking so long as people are still giving money. He will not want to give up as he is giving so much hope to many others in these hard times.’
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.’
Speaking about his health, Captain Moore told ITV’s This Morning: ‘My health is fine, I’m fine because of the NHS. When I broke my hip and when I got cancer on my head they treated me so well. They deserve every penny they get.
‘Our own national service is absolutely beyond, it does so well and at the moment all the staff out there putting themselves in mortal danger every day, they go onto duty and they do it cheerfully whatever the outcome is.
‘They will know that at that time they all came and did so well. All the doctors, nurses and backup staff are all doing a marvellous job for the whole nation.
‘The war that we’re dealing with at the moment, with this invisible enemy, the doctors the nurses who are putting themselves in mortal danger are on the frontline and we’re the back up.
‘It’s our job to give them everything they need to do their job properly because they’ve done it with such bravery.’
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.’
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.
Director-general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted his praise for Captain Moore, saying: ‘This is such an inspiring story and extraordinary act of solidarity! Thank you so much Capt Tom Moore for such a wonderful idea and lesson of humanity! Together, against #COVID19! #ThanksHealthHeroes’.
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.’
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.
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’.
Captain Tom Moore reacts as he completes the 100th length of his back garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, yesterday
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’.
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.’