World War II hero Captain Tom Moore has raised more than £11million for the ‘brave nurses and doctors’ of the NHS by marching around his garden on a zimmer frame.
The 99-year-old had initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his 27-yard garden in Bedfordshire – but he has now smashed his target by 11,000 times in less than a week.
Captain Moore, who was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, even caused his JustGiving page to crash this morning when 90,000 people rushed to sponsor him in his endeavour to support NHS heroes.
He had aimed to complete the challenge and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by his 100th birthday on April 30.
However, he is currently ahead of schedule with 2,430 yards complete and is hoping to finish his final 10 laps – or 270 yards – by Thursday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a personal thank you to Captain Moore during his daily coronavirus press briefing today. ‘Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all and we thank you,’ he said.
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire as he reached the landmark £5million total this morning, Captain Moore said the achievement was ‘completely out of this world’ and thanked those who have donated.
‘Thank you so much to all the people who have subscribed to the NHS because for every penny that we get, they deserve every one of them,’ he said.
Captain Tom Moore set out last Thursday to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire lawn and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together before he turns 100 on April 30
Captain Moore (pictured as a solider) served in India and Myanmar during World War Two
World War II hero Captain Tom Moore has raised more than £11million for the ‘brave nurses and doctors’ of the NHS
Captain Tom Moore thanking everyone for their donations on Twitter
He added that he never believed he would raise ‘anything near that sort of money’ when he began his sponsored walk on April 9.
‘At no time when we started off with this exercise did we anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money,’ he said.
‘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.’
His family added on Twitter: ‘5 MILLION! Huge thank you to @JustGiving who had over 90,000 people on Tom’s page at one time, and had to try ensure that the site didn’t crash.
‘WOW – just speechless. #walkwithtom #tomorrowwillbeagoodday.’
The total rocketed to £7million just hours later, with thousands in donations still being pledged.
Pictured: Retired British Army Captain Tom Moore completes 10 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine today
Captain Moore (pictured today) began his fundraiser to thank the ‘magnificent’ NHS staff who supported him through cancer and a broken hip
Pictured: Captain Moore on Good Morning Britain with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore
Captain Moore’s family said on Twitter 90,000 people were on the veteran’s page at once
Victoria Derbyshire, who spoke to Captain Moore as he hit the landmark sum, took to social media to share her congratulations
Carrie Symonds, the fiancée of prime minister Boris Johnson, dubbed Captain Moore a ‘total hero’ on Twitter this afternoon as his total neared £8million
Captain Tom’s family took to Twitter once more to celebrate hitting more than £8million
Captain Tom Moore thanking everyone for their donations on Twitter as he reached £9million
A few short hours after hitting the £7million mark, Captain Tom’s family took to Twitter once more to celebrate hitting more than £8million. ‘8 MILLION POUNDS!!! I’m speechless….. This amount of money will help the #NHS beyond what we ever thought was imaginable.
‘Thank you to everyone that’s helped me get there.
Then another tweet appeared a short time after, when donations reached well over £9million. ‘9 MILLION POUND! NHS – we love you! Let’s clap loud tomorrow night…#walkwithtom.
Captain Moore, who lives in Marston Moretaine with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram and grandchildren Georgia and Benjie after his wife Pamela passed away, began his fundraiser to thank the ‘magnificent’ NHS staff who supported him through cancer and a broken hip.
He was inspired by the ‘amazing’ treatment he continues to receive after falling and breaking his hip in 2018, and on his recovery from skin cancer.
The mammoth total comes as Piers Morgan launched a campaign this morning for Captain Moore to be knighted for his extraordinary fundraising efforts.
The presenter had donated £10,000 to the fundraiser on Monday.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘It suddenly came to me – would it be nice to see Captain Tom Moore, who served his country in World War II, and has now raised over £4million for the NHS in a week, wouldn’t it be great to see him knighted for his services to the country?
Pictured: Captain Tom Moore seen recently with his daughters Lucy Texiera and Hannah Ingram-Moore
The bookies have made it 5/6 that the 99-year-old (pictured as a young man) will be honoured with a knighthood before the end of next year
Pictured: Captain Moore with the 50th Indian Tank Brigade at Kirkee, now Khadki, in India
The veteran (pictured) is currently ahead of schedule with 2,430 yards complete and is hoping to complete his final 10 laps – or 270 yards – tomorrow
The grandfather-of-four (pictured today) will celebrate his birthday with a virtual party with his family and friends amid the coronavirus lockdown
‘Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t feel temptation to give it to business people who pay money for the honour, we didn’t give it to celebrities for singing nice songs, but we give it to someone like him? That we make him Sir Tom?’
‘I think that would be great,’ he added. ‘Let’s give him something back.’
The bookies have also made it 5/6 that the 99-year-old will be honoured with a knighthood before the end of next year.
Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: ‘Captain Tom’s fundraising efforts are beyond incredible and he deserves to be honoured.’
Hundreds of Britons have taken to social media in support of the grandfather-of-four, with one user even suggesting a hospital should be named after him.
‘I’d like a NHS hospital named ‘The Captain Tom Moore’ hospital,’ one woman said on Twitter.
‘Outside should be a statue of him, in his blazer, with his badges with his zimmer frame as a reminder to us how much one person can do, even at his age, when they choose to act.’
Pictured: Captain Moore, who began his fundraiser to thank the ‘magnificent’ NHS staff who helped him through cancer and a broken hip, on a Scott bike as a young man
The fundraiser had topped £1million as of 9am on Tuesday, before surpassing £5million this morning and going on to raise another million hours later
Another user added: ‘That man is a legend and a HERO, 80 years ago and today in 2020.’
‘This man is an inspiration, saved his country once, now helping save our health service now,’ said a third. ‘Sir Tom Moore has the best ring to it.’
Carrie Symonds, the fiancée of prime minister Boris Johnson, dubbed Captain Moore a ‘total hero’ on Twitter this afternoon as his total neared £8million.
Reegan Davies, an eight-year-old actress from South Wales, has also asked children across the UK to make ‘our nation’s hero’ a virtual birthday card for when he turns 100 on April 30.
FROM YORKSHIRE TO INDIA: CAPTAIN TOM MOORE’S MILITARY CAREER
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.
Dozens of children have responded, holding up brightly coloured cards with ‘100’ and ‘happy birthday’ written on the front in photographs posted online.
She said: ‘I think Captain Tom is amazing and I really think when this is all over instead of having a letter from the Queen he should get to meet her or maybe the Queen can Skype him.
‘He was was a war hero but now he’s my hero and the nations.’
The grandfather-of-four will celebrate his birthday with a virtual party with his family and friends amid the coronavirus lockdown.
But the soon-to-be centenarian will have a ‘huge celebration’ once the pandemic has ‘blown over.’
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.
The veteran and his family set out to raise £1,000 initially, but as donations flooded in they decided to raise their target to £500,000.
The fundraiser had topped £1million as of 9am on Tuesday, before surpassing £5million this morning and going on to raise another million hours later. The new figure stands at more than £8 million.
‘It seems almost like fairy land to think that we started off at 1,000 to a sum of money that’s not believable, is it?’ Captain Moore said.
‘Whereas in the last war we had soldiers in uniform in khaki, this time our army are in doctors and nurse’s uniform. They’re doing such a marvellous job.’
The latest goal was comfortably beaten on Monday, with a quarter of a million supporters now having raised ten times the new target.
Speaking on Tuesday, Captain Moore’s daughter said: ‘We have decided as a family we won’t reset the target. We feel that we have shown a window into the world of a gem. Now the nation has taken this gem of a man into our hearts.
‘We feel that it’s now up to the British public to take this as far as it should go, Tom will continue to walk and we, the family and friends, will continue to support him, this is now in the hands of the British public.’
Showing his gratitude for the overwhelming support Brits have seen him, the Second World War captain said: ‘I would say thank you, very very much, you’re so kind and it’s such a benefit to many many people.
‘You’re giving hope to the people who are at the moment find it very, very difficult, but we shall survive and we shall get through it in the end.’
On Monday, Piers Morgan donated £10,000 toward Captain Moore’s cause and told the near-centenarian: ‘Captain Tom Moore, thank you for serving your country.
‘I’m so glad that we were able, through the brilliant NHS, to serve you back and keep you going.
‘Good luck – I want to get you over the line today. Here’s what I’m going to do, Tom, I’m going to put £10,000 of my own money into your fundraising today and I hope that encourages everyone watching at home to do the same.
Reegan Davies, an eight-year-old actress from South Wales, has also asked children across the UK to make ‘our nation’s hero’ a virtual birthday card for when he turns 100 on April 30
The veteran (pictured on his walk) and his family set out to raise £1,000 initially, but as donations flooded in they decided to raise their target to £500,000
Captain Tom Moore, 99, appeared on Good Morning Britain with his daughter Hannah on Monday morning
‘Little or small, whatever you can do. Let’s get you over the half a million. You’ve got 10 grand from me.’
The donation meant he had raised more than £400,000 – but 24 hours later, the total had more than doubled.
The 99-year-old widow tweeted his thanks to Susanna Reid and Piers for having him on the show, adding: ‘Piers – I salute you’.
There have been other fundraisers set up to help support the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 12,868 people amid 98,476 cases in the UK.
Ian Alcorn, a bathroom fitter from Nottingham, planned to raise £100 for the NHS coronavirus effort by encouraging friends and family to camp in their gardens, however his fundraiser quickly gathered over £100,000.
As a way of entertaining his children, he set up a tent in his back garden, inviting a few friends and neighbours to join at home and donate £2 to NHS Charities Together.
Mr Alcorn said: ‘The basis of the idea stemmed from boredom at home, it was a Sunday night and I was waiting for Antiques Roadshow to come on.
‘My wife’s a key worker so there were some days we needed to fill and others not. I thought at the weekend, let’s treat the kids to a camp-out. We couldn’t go out so we would camp in the garden!’
Health Secretary pays special tribute to ‘inspiration’ Captain Tom
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a personal thank you to Captain Moore during his daily coronavirus press briefing today.
Mr Hancock paid tribute to the 99-year-old army veteran during his opening remarks at Downing Street.
‘I want to start by thanking everyone who is staying at home even in this sunshine.
‘Together, we are slowing the spread of this virus.
‘I want to pay a special tribute to Captain Tom Moore, who at the age of 99 has raised over £7 million so far for NHS charities.
‘Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all and we thank you,’ he said.
The new figure stands at more than £8 million.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked Captain Tom Moore during a press briefing today