Colonel Tom Moore — known widely by his former title Captain Tom — is to be knighted for his fundraising efforts for Britain's NHS Charities, a group of charities that work to support patients and staff affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The war veteran raised over £32 million by walking laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.
It was announced on Wednesday that Moore was given a special nomination for the knighthood by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It has already approved by Queen Elizabeth II.
Moore, who is originally from Yorkshire and now lives with his family in Bedfordshire, set himself the challenge of raising £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden by his 100th birthday at the end of April.
With only his walking frame for support, he began on April 8 with 10 laps a day of the 25-metre space. But with the fundraiser hitting £70,000 in just 24 hours he decided to extend the campaign, the Guardian reported. He then successfully completed another 100 laps.
"I am overawed by the fact that this has happened to me."@captaintommoore gives #BBCBreakfast his reaction to the news that he is to become #SirCaptainTomMoore.— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) May 20, 2020
More here: https://t.co/Kon4M9hWZwpic.twitter.com/CEwEHvHG9T
Johnson hailed Moore's "fantastic fundraising" that "inspired the whole country", according to the BBC.
"On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you." Johnson said. "He's a true national treasure,"
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined the congratulations, saying that Moore "brought inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS".
"In his actions, Tom embodied the national solidarity which has grown throughout this crisis, and showed us that everyone can play their part in helping build a better future," Starmer said.
Moore, who served in India and Burma during World War Two, told the BBC that it was “completely out of this world” when the fundraiser hit £5 million.
But he added that it was all to help “magnificent NHS staff.”
"When you think of who it is all for — all those brave and super doctors and nurses we have got — I think they deserve every penny, and I hope we get some more for them too,” he told the broadcaster.
Moore has since earned a number one single with a charity duet alongside Michael Ball — a cover of "You'll Never Walk Alone", making him the oldest chart-topper ever — and announced on May 14 that he will release an autobiography and illustrated children's book about his life to support a new foundation that will combat loneliness, support hospices. and help those facing bereavement.
Moore’s daughter, Hannah, spoke to the Guardian about how the NHS has a special place in her father’s heart, as his wife was treated from a long illness before she passed away in 2006, and he has been treated for skin cancer and a broken hip.
“He’s a typical Yorkshireman, so he’s very stoic, very controlled, and takes everything in his stride,” she told the newspaper. “We always knew that he was this incredible gem of a man, but we never had any idea that his story would capture the hearts of the nation."
The £32 million raised by Moore is going to an association of charities called NHS Charities Together, and among other things, it will go towards wellbeing packs and rest and recuperation centres for staff on the frontline, as well as electronic devices like phones and tablets for patients to communicate with their families while in isolation.
The chief executive of NHS Charities Together, Elle Orton, said in response to the campaign: “I think I join the rest of the country in being truly inspired and profoundly humbled by Captain Tom and what he’s achieved.”
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and thank you for being such a good role model,” she added, speaking to the Guardian.
Clips of Moore’s walk have been uploaded to YouTube so you can see how he’s doing.
In an earlier interview during his fundraising campaign he gave some words of advice for people struggling during the pandemic.
"Let's all carry on and remember that things will get better," Moore told the BBC. "We have had problems before — we have overcome them — and we shall all overcome the same thing again."
You can see all of Global Citizen's COVID-19 coverage here.