Today a nation mourns a hero.
Captain Sir Tom Moore, the centenarian who raised £33 million for the NHS during the first UK COVID-19 lockdown, passed away peacefully on Tuesday at Bedford Hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.
Moore won the hearts of Britain and the world after he walked 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday in April 2020. He first set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities, a group of nonprofits that work to support patients and staff affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
But after hitting £70,000 in 24 hours, he kept going. Moore completed another 100 laps, and raised £32,796,155, according to his JustGiving page.
The rest is history. In May, he was given a special nomination for a knighthood. His life is a spectacular story about hope — and how the action of one individual can release a tidal wave of change and light at a time of such unparalleled darkness.
Moore hadn’t yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 after being on medication treating pneumonia. He tested positive for the virus last week, according to the BBC, and was hospitalised on Sunday.
"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,” read a statement from his daughters. "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,” they added. “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."
Even after his epic fundraising, Moore kept on taking action. The veteran started a foundation to combat loneliness, support hospices, and to help those facing bereavement — and published two books to support it. He even became the oldest chart-topper ever when he covered "You'll Never Walk Alone" for charity with Michael Ball.
And he inspired others to follow in his footsteps, including a 100-year-old Londoner who was awarded an OBE for raising £420,000 walking around his backyard while fasting for Ramadan.
The internet is abound with tributes right now. Here are some that we feel capture the spirit of the man who put so many others before himself — the truest, most fundamental embodiment of the UK's National Health Service there could be.
This is so sad but what an amazing final year he had. Imagine getting as famous he did & making such an impact at aged 100!— Nicola Slawson (@Nicola_Slawson) February 2, 2021
Hopefully even more money will be raised in his name now. One of the main focuses of his foundation is tackling loneliness, which is a very worthy cause. https://t.co/Wyk7bctToW
#CaptainTom#CaptainSirTomMoore— Bolton Cancer Voices (@VoicesBolton) February 2, 2021
REST IN PEACE Captain Sir Tom Moore
Thank you for the inspiration you gave to many: the light you brought into our lives and your encouraging words & smiles. Your fundraising was legendary & will help many.
Heartfelt condolences to your family pic.twitter.com/ZSEDxj988s
Sad to hear of the death of Capt Sir Tom Moore - his incredible efforts gave so many of us a focus and brought joy at an incredibly difficult time. I hope his family are able to find peace, and support from the many of us who were so touched by his efforts. #CaptainTom— Dr Hannah Barham-Brown (@HannahPopsy) February 2, 2021
The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 2, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/nl1krvoUlW
I never knew Captain Sir Tom Moore personally but, like millions of others, it felt like I did. He brought us together at a time when we needed it the most. I’d smile whenever he popped up on the telly, he made me feel proud, optimistic and hopeful for the future. RIP Captain pic.twitter.com/xH48tO7nMj— Paddy McGuinness 💙 (@PaddyMcGuinness) February 2, 2021
Tom Moore gave his youth fighting fascism and spent what turned out to be the last year of his life raising millions for a pitifully underfunded NHS - a century of life rich with purpose. R.I.P— Marcus Barnett (@marcusbarnett_) February 2, 2021
For any non-brits:Tom Moore raised £33 million pounds for the NHS, at the start of the pandemic, as well as fulfilling many years of dedicated service to the military. A truly inspirational man, a symbol of hope and optimism for many brits, who are extremely saddened by this loss— Hannah²⁸ (@louistluv28) February 2, 2021
The last year has been awful for many but we have had one person that’s been our heartbeat & inspiration ... Unfortunately he has now left us ... RIP Sir Captain Tom 🙏🙏🙏— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 2, 2021
So saddened to hear of the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore. He lived nearby and I know how proud we all are of his inspiring example and extraordinary life. He leaves a huge legacy which will continue to be a bright light for so many. #CaptainTomMoore— Robert Daws (@RobertDaws) February 2, 2021