Captain Tom Moore: Centenarian who inspired a nation with his COVID fundraising, laid to rest, UK
A World War II-era plane flew over the funeral service of Captain Tom Moore on Saturday in honour of the veteran who single-handedly raised millions of pounds for Britain's health workers by walking laps in his backyard. Soldiers performed ceremonial duties at the service for the 100-year-old, whose charity walk inspired the nation and raised almost £33 million. Captain Tom, as he became known, died 2 February 2021 in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Just eight members of the veteran's immediate family attended Saturday's private service, but soldiers carried his coffin to a crematorium and formed a ceremonial guard. A Second World War aircraft, with the markings of D-day on its wings, flew overhead.
Six soldiers from the Yorkshire regiment acted as pallbearers for his coffin, which was draped with a union flag and adorned with a replica of his service cap from the Second World War, a wreath from the Yorkshire Regiment.
A specially commissioned sword was also laid on his coffin, engraved with the motto of the Yorkshire Regiment on one side: “Fortune favours the brave”, and his personal motto: “Tomorrow will be a good day” on the other.
Six representatives from Harrogate’s Army Foundation College, where Moore was made an honorary colonel, formed a ceremonial guard at Bedfordshire crematorium and a firing party of 14 fired three rounds in unison before the ceremony began. Later, Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime song The White Cliffs of Dover was played, alongside a version of the song Smile specially recorded by Michael Bublé for the occasion. I Vow to Thee My Country by Alfie Boe and My Way by Frank Sinatra were also played, in music chosen by Moore and his grandson.
The celebrant conducting the funeral read the poem A Happy Man by Edwin Arlington Robinson, which features the words: “Children that I leave behind, and their children, all were kind; near to them and to my wife; I was happy all my life.”
A bugler sounded the Last Post at the end of the service.
Moore, who served in India, Burma (now known as Myanmar) and Sumatra during the Second World War, set out to raise a modest £1 000 (€1 150) for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his backyard by his 100th birthday.
But his quest went viral, catching the imagination of millions stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic.
His positive attitude
"Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day" became his trademark phrase, inspired the nation at a time of crisis and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described him as a "hero in the truest sense of the word".
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in July in a socially-distanced ceremony at the monarch's residence at Windsor Castle.
The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore paid tribute to him as he was laid to rest in a funeral broadcast to the nation.
Speaking at the private service in Bedfordshire crematorium, Moore’s family said that his “message and his spirit lives on”.
“Daddy, you always told us ‘best foot forward’ and true to your word that’s what you did last year, raising a fortune for the NHS and walking your way into the nation’s hearts,” Teixeira said.
Ingram-Moore said the world had been “enthralled” by her father’s spirit of hope. “We have been so close as a family before this but we were thrust even closer together as the world became enthralled by your spirit of hope, positivity and resilience. They too saw your belief in kindness and the fundamental goodness of the human spirit,” she said.
Members of the public were asked to stay at home during the funeral but thousands of people signed an online book of condolences, for veteran who raised more than £32m for the NHS or almost £39m including gift aid payments.
The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said the armed force were “immensely proud to contribute to the celebration of his extraordinary life of service”. “In national emergencies ordinary people do extraordinary things and inspire us all to pull together to overcome adversity,” he said. “Few will have heard of Sir Tom before this crisis but his contribution and example now lives on in us all.”
The ceremony opened with Moore’s chart-topping charity single, You’ll Never Walk Alone, which he recorded with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir and made him the oldest person to achieve a number one in the UK.
Once restrictions permit, the family will inter Moore’s ashes in Yorkshire, with his parents and grandparents in the Moore family plot. As he wanted, Moore’s epitaph reads “I told you I was old”, in reference to comedian Spike Milligan’s famous epitaph “I told you I was ill”.
The celebration of Moore’s life continued outside of the ceremony.
In Keighley, where Moore was born, the deputy lord lieutenant of West Yorkshire, David Pearson, laid a wreath of 200 white roses on behalf of the Queen. Moore was knighted by the Queen during an open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer last year.
Residents in the village of Marston Moretaine, where Moore lived, stood outside their homes to applaud him as the hearse was driven past. Many lampposts were adorned with red ribbons in remembrance of the 100-year-old war veteran.
On Saturday evening, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, tweeted: “Sir Captain Tom Moore was an inspiration and we will never forget his efforts throughout the pandemic. He showed the best of Britain. RIP Captain Tom.”
Source: The Guardian, Euro News