99-year-old Captain Tom Moore raises over £29m for the NHS in the UK
99-year-old Second World War veteran, Captain Tom Moore, has raised more than £29m for the NHS in the UK by walking his garden 100 times and releasing a charity single with the singer Michael Ball. On 6 April 2020, with his hundredth birthday approaching on 30 April 2020, Moore began a fundraising campaign to raise money for NHS Charities Together, a group of charities supporting staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients in the British public health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. He aimed to complete one hundred 25m laps of his garden, ten laps per day, with the help of a walking frame, branding the endeavour "Tom's 100th Birthday Walk for the NHS". The initial £1 000 goal having been realised on 10 April 2020, the target was increased, first to £5 000 and eventually to £500 000 as more people around the world became involved. Fund-raising soared exponentially when the British media publicised the endeavour. Moore, who joined Twitter in the same month, used the site to express joy over accumulating such a staggering amount of money for the NHS.
The JustGiving page for his walk reports that, as of 20h00 28 April 2020 (UTC), he had raised in excess of £29,3 million, the largest-ever amount raised by a JustGiving campaign, beating the previous record of £5,2 million raised (partially posthumously) by Stephen Sutton. More than 1,3 million individuals have donated.
Funds raised by Moore are being spent on such things as well-being packs for National Health Service staff facilitating rest and recuperation rooms, devices to enable hospital patients to keep in contact with family members and community groups who support patients once discharged from hospitals.
He achieved his initial target of one hundred laps on the morning of 16 April 2020, watched at a safe distance by a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, into which the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (8 DWR), Moore’s former regiment, were merged in 2006. He has said he will not stop and aims to do a second hundred.
On reaching the £5 million mark, Moore explained his motivation, “When we started off with this exercise we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money. It's really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They're all so brave. Because every morning or every night they're putting themselves into harm's way and I think you've got to give them full marks for that effort. We're a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they're all on the front line and all of us behind, we've got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they're doing now.”
Number one single
To mark Moore's 100th lap, the singer Michael Ball sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" for him live on BBC Breakfast. Within 24 hours, the performance was made into a digital single featuring the NHS Voices of Care Choir and Moore's spoken words. Released by Decca Records, on 17 April 2020, with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together, the recording went straight to number one in the United Kingdom's ‘The Official Big Top 40’ chart. It sold almost 36 000 copies in its first 48 hours and was "biggest trending song" as measured by the Official Charts Company. On 24 April 2020, it became No 1 in the weekly Official UK Singles Chart, making Moore the oldest person to achieve that position and meaning that he will be at No 1 on his 100th birthday.
Moore's bid to reach No 1 was boosted when his leading competitor, the then-current No 1, The Weekend, used Twitter to ask people to support Moore and make him No 1 for his 100th birthday.
Moore has given over 50 media interviews. On 16 April 2020, after Moore's 100th lap, a UK Government spokesman said, “The Prime Minister will certainly be looking at ways to recognise Tom's heroic efforts.” By 20 April 2020, more than 800 000 people had signed a petition calling for Moore to be knighted. Brigadier Andrew Jackson, colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, described Moore as, “An absolute legend [from] an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today.”
Keighley Town Council stated that they grant Moore the Freedom of Keighley. Moore was also guest of honour at, via a video link and opened, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber, in Harrogate, on 21 April 2020.
On 23 April 2020, he was given a Pride of Britain award in recognition of his efforts, after "thousands of nominations" were received. A number of artists have painted portraits of Moore; some said they would gift the paintings to him. Others depicted him in murals. UK television channel, ITV, have commissioned a 30-minute documentary, Captain Tom's War, about his military career. It is scheduled to be screened on 8 May 2020.
Captain Tom Moore's 100th birthday is to be marked by an RAF flypast, after he raised tens of millions of pounds for the NHS. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) will carry out an aerial salute on Thursday, 30 April 2020, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced. Based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, the BBMF's fleet includes six Spitfires and a Lancaster bomber. An MoD spokesman said that, "weather permitting", the flypast would "celebrate Captain Tom's birthday and mark his amazing fundraising achievement". He added, "The great British public is encouraged to follow Captain Tom's disciplined example and not gather to watch the flypast but continue following Public Health England guidelines on social distancing."
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records recognised Moore with two separate world records, as the largest fundraiser in an individual charity walk and as the oldest person to have a number-one single on the UK charts.
Over a week before Moore's 100th birthday, so many cards had been sent to him that Royal Mail had had to introduce dedicated sorting facilities and around 20 volunteers were recruited to open and display them, at the local Bedford School. As of 28 April 2020, around 125 000 cards had been received.
Source: Wikipedia and Sky News