Captain Tom Moore has raised millions of pounds for the UK’s National Health Service by aiming to walk 100 lengths of his back garden before his 100th birthday.
Capt. Moore’s NHS fundraiser hits £17m
Retired army Captain Tom Moore has so far raised £17 million for the NHS by aiming to walk 100 lengths of his back garden before his 100th birthday. All the money Moore raises will be donated to NHS Charities Together to go towards wellbeing packs and rest and recuperation centres for staff on the frontline .
“He’s a beacon of hope in dark times and I think we all need something like this…”
A 99-year-old war veteran has walked 100 laps of his garden to raise £17m and counting for the NHS. — reported the BBC today.
Captain Tom Moore originally aimed to raise just £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, but he smashed his target after nearly 800,000 people made donations to his fundraising page.
As he finished the challenge, he said: "I feel fine, I hope you’re all feeling fine too."
Capt Tom told the BBC the total amount raised so far was "an absolutely fantastic sum of money".
"I never dreamt I would be involved in such an occasion as this," he said at the end of his final lap.
On Friday morning, Captain Tom’s JustGiving page, which temporarily crashed after he finished the challenge nearly 24 hours earlier, was showing donations of more than £17m.
The total includes an undisclosed donation from the Duke of Cambridge, who also wrote to the World War Two veteran.
Captain Tom’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said: "We are absolutely floored by what has been achieved but we’re so happy, so humbled and so proud.
"He’s a beacon of hope in dark times and I think we all need something like this to believe in and it’s for such an amazing cause."
His granddaughter, Georgia, added she was "very proud" of him.
Capt Tom began raising funds to thank the "magnificent" NHS staff who helped him with treatment for cancer and a broken hip.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson would “certainly be looking at ways to recognise” him
With the aid of a walking frame, he completed 100 laps of the 25-metre (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, in 10-lap chunks well before his birthday on 30 April.
Tributes and messages of congratulations have poured in from politicians, celebrities and NHS workers, while a petition for him to receive a knighthood has been signed by more than 300,000 people so far.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson would "certainly be looking at ways to recognise" him.
"It would be marvellous to have such an honour but I don’t expect anything like that," Captain Tom said.
A spokesman for Mr. Johnson said Capt. Tom had "captured the heart of the nation with his heroic efforts" and raised an "incredible amount" of money.
Brigadier Andrew Jackson, colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, described Capt Tom as "an absolute legend" who came from "an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today".
‘It will all be right’ — Capt. Tom
Nurses on Ward 4 at the Royal University Hospital said: "Thank you so much for all your efforts and how much money you’ve raised for the NHS."
Capt. Tom also received a special message from actor and singer Michael Ball, who described the challenge as "an extraordinary achievement" and sang "You’ll Never Walk Alone" to him live on BBC Breakfast.
Shortly after he finished the fundraiser, the retired soldier had words of advice for the nation about coping with the coronavirus lockdown.
"You’ve all got to remember that we will get through it in the end, it will all be right," he said. "For all those people finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away."
More than 700,000 people from around the world have donated money to the fundraising page since it was set up last week.
Capt. Tom, who is originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army for World War Two, rising to captain and serving in India and Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The veteran said plans for his 100th birthday party in two weeks’ time have been affected by the pandemic but that the national outpouring of love and support for him was "a party enough for me".
NHS Charities Together, which support health service charities and will benefit from the funds, said it was "truly inspired and humbled" by his efforts. Its chairman Ian Lush said about 150 charities would benefit from the money.
"It’s extraordinary to see the amount of money and the outpouring of goodwill towards the NHS and towards all the NHS charities who will take good care with the money that he’s raising," he said.
JustGiving confirmed it is the largest total ever raised in a single campaign on its site and it had itself donated £100,000 to Capt. Tom’s "amazing campaign".
"This is the largest donation JustGiving has ever made," a spokeswoman said. "[The campaign is] the largest total raised on JustGiving, the fastest growing campaign on the platform and has attracted donations and media coverage from around the world."
Don't Be Discouraged. Here's How To Help During Coronavirus
Living in the new normal of the coronavirus pandemic can be a constant source of anxiety, but it's also created new opportunities for community and charitable giving. It's easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed when so many people are struggling in all different ways. But there are ways to help, financially and otherwise. Click for four tips on giving back during the coronavirus pandemic.