Sir Tom Moore, 100-Year-Old Veteran Who Raised £33m For NHS Workers During Lockdown Dies Of Coronavirus

Inspirational war veteran and fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has died aged 100 after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus.

He had been a beam of light shining through the tragedies of the pandemic and raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his milestone birthday.

His optimistic tone and belief 'Tomorrow will be a good day' endeared him to fans around the world, from young to old.  

Today it was announced he had passed away peacefully in hospital, with his devoted family by his side.

In a statement, his daughters Hannah and Lucy said: 'It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore.

'We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, Benjie and Georgia by his bedside and Lucy on FaceTime. We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

'The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of.

'Whilst he'd been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever.

'The care our father received from the NHS and carers over the last few weeks and years of his life has been extraordinary. They have been unfalteringly professional, kind and compassionate and have given us many more years with him than we ever would have imagined.

'Over the past few days our father spoke a great deal about the last 12 months and how proud he felt at being able to leave behind the growing legacy of his Foundation.

'We politely ask for privacy at this time so we can grieve quietly as a family and remember the wonderful 100 years our father had. Thank you.'

On Sunday Hannah had revealed he had been battling pneumonia over the 'past few weeks' before also testing positive for Covid-19 a week ago.

The former serviceman - who was knighted in July - was then taken to Bedford Hospital in Bedfordshire on Sunday night after requiring 'help with his breathing', but was not put into intensive care.

Captain Tom had not been able to have the coronavirus vaccine because of the pneumonia.  

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 Queen this evening sent a message to Captain Tom's family and told of her joy at meeting him for his knighting.

A Royal statement said: 'The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

'Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year.

'Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them.'

Piers Morgan led tributes to the great man, posting online: 'RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore, 100. A magnificent man. A national hero.

'In our darkest hour since WW2, he rallied Britain with his resilience, courage and optimism. Let us all heed his mantra in our own lives: "Tomorrow will be a good day". Thank you, Tom.'

Captain Tom, originally from Keighley, West Yorkshire, had been on a dream holiday to Barbados on December 11 after British Airways offered him free flights to the Caribbean. He had not been seen in public since the pre-Christmas break, but tweeted as he departed: 'The support I have been shown in 2020 has given me renewed energy and today I get to tick something off my bucket list.'

His incredible bravery and determination became a focus point for the millions of famillies suffering through Covid-19 and its heavy restrictions. 

He became an iconic figure during the first coronavirus lockdown after he raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

The former army man had only set out to raise £1,000 from his lockdown charity challenge but his efforts struck a chord with the nation, and praise and donations flooded in.

Captain Tom's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, a recruitment officer, from Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire, revealed the fundraising idea came about after her husband Colin challenged his father-in-law to to do 100 laps before his birthday.

Mrs Ingram-Moore revealed how her father had a fall in their kitchen at the end of 2018 and had bought himself a treadmill to rehabilitate after he fractured his hip. 

The veteran came out with his walker one lockdown weekend and her husband said: 'Carry on walking, Tom, we'll give you a pound a lap. Do 100 by your 100th birthday.' 

The family were forced to cancel his birthday party in April because of Covid-19 restrictions but set up a JustGiving page in the hope they would raise £1,000. 

She told how the total went to £2,000 overnight and £12 million a month later after Sir Tom featured on BBC Breakfast and Michael Ball spoke to him on BBC Radio Two. 

She described how the family were 'not eating or sleeping' to manage the technology, phone calls and emails while keeping the recruitment business going.  

'Dad could see we were so tired and he said: ''Should we make this stop? I'm worried for you.'' It was a watershed moment,' Mrs Ingram-Moore said. 

She continued: 'We said: 'No, because what you are doing is having such a positive impact on people around the world. We just have to manage it.' 

His fundraising led to a slew of personal honours and he was knighted by the Queen and also made an honorary army colonel. 

The Royal honour would have seemed entirely unexpected for the 20-year-old who had been conscripted into the army back in 1940.

His career in the services saw him promoted to Corporal, then Second Lieutenant before a captain in 1944. 

He served in India and the Burma campaign during the Second World War.

He had been enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (8 DWR), an infantry unit that was converted to operate Churchill tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).

Then after he was selected for officer training he rose to the rank of captain, later being posted to 9 DWR in India.

In his later military years he served and fought in the Arakan in western Burma and went with his regiment to Sumatra after the Japanese forces surrendered in 1945.

Afterwards he became an instructor in armoured warfare in Bovington, Dorset.

The MOD now has a page devoted to him on its website, calling him 'An inspirational role model'

His dedication to service saw him wear his medals on his fundraising walks, explaining 'It's important. It shows that I was part of a very important and super army at the time who were all battling for our country, which we're all so proud of.

'I still very proud of our country. There is nowhere like ours.'

In July the Queen came out for her first official engagement since lockdown to knight him in person for his incredible achievement.

Windsor Castle saw a 'unique ceremony' where he had the honour bestowed upon him.

He said afterwards: 'I am absolutely overawed.

'This is such a high award and to get it from Her Majesty as well - what more can anyone wish for? This has been an absolutely magnificent day for me.'

Incredibly his fundraising fame was not the first time he had enjoyed the spotlight in front of millions of people.

An unearthed clip showed the then Colonel Tom, aged 63, charm the audience as he chatted to the late Terry Wogan, while appearing on Blankety Blank in 1983.

His good nature was clear as he made the host and audience laugh while telling them he was from a 'good place' called Tipps End.

He only managed to walk away with the consolation prize; its infamous chequebook and pen, after appearing on a Christmas special version of the programme.

But in recent times Captain Tom became GQ magazine's oldest cover star and even scored a number one chart hit with Michael Ball in a charity recording of You'll Never Walk Alone.  

In an interview with the publication after his award, the veteran opened up about his 20-year first marriage, his beloved late wife Pamela's battle with dementia, and how he wants to be there for 'lonely people in need of help'.

He broke down as he discussed the moment he realised he would have to put his wife into a care home. 

He told the magazine: 'Taking her... she didn't really know what we were doing. And I felt... I felt I was letting her down. 

'I realise it was the best that could be done. I realise my effort wasn't enough.'

He also joked about installing two stair lifts at his home and how he enjoys 'lots of sugar' on his porridge every morning, 'because cholesterol is the least of his worries at 100'.  

He also launched a £35.95 bottle of gin, his own podcast and there is even a movie in the works after UK companies Fred Films and Powder Keg Pictures bought the rights to the feature about the former British Army captain. 

The centenarian had smiled as he sat in a plane seat emblazoned with his name in a picture shared to his official Twitter page as he went to Barbados in his last public appearance.

Poignantly he revealed the flight ticked an item 'off his bucket list'.

He said at the time: 'I never thought that, at the age of 100, I would get to travel again. I'm so grateful to everyone who has made this possible. The support I have been shown in 2020 has given me renewed energy and today I get to tick something off my bucket list.'

Post a comment