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Captain Sir Tom Moore knighted by the Queen

Captain Sir Thomas Moore receives his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
National hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has been knighted by the Queen in recognition of his outstanding achievement raising almost £33 million for the NHS.

The Second World War veteran’s extraordinary year was capped when the Queen dubbed him a knight with her father’s sword.

Staged in the open air, in the imposing setting of Windsor Castle’s quadrangle, the ceremony saw the 100-year-old former Army officer joined by his family.

The Queen has been shielding at her famous Berkshire home for much of the lockdown with the Duke of Edinburgh, and the event was her first face-to-face royal engagement with a member of the public since March – albeit with social distancing.

Sir Tom had set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire before his 100th birthday on April 30.

But his efforts struck a chord with national feeling, and praise and donations flooded in, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the veteran “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus” and recommended he be knighted.

The head of state’s arrival into the quadrangle was signalled by the sound of bagpipes played by the Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major Richard Grisdale, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Earlier, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and other close family attended the unannounced wedding of their granddaughter Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a nearby chapel.

The monarch was joined in the quadrangle by the Master of the Household, retired Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, who carried the insignia of Knight Bachelor, while one of the Queen’s Pages was entrusted with King George VI’s sword.

Waiting was Sir Tom and his family – daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram, grandson Benjie and granddaughter Georgia.

With her father’s sword in her hand, she lightly touched him first on his right shoulder then his left with the blade – dubbing him a knight.

Sir Tom thanked his supporters who helped him raise the massive total for the NHS, something he said the Queen highlighted: “She did mention the money and she thought it was a magnificent sum to raise.”

Reflecting on the journey that has taken him from local fundraiser to a knighthood, he said: “When you think that about four months ago I was just Tom Moore, now I’m Sir Tom Moore, no one could ever have believed that, in that time, it would happen to me.”

“I’ve been really honoured that this should happen and I’m thrilled that it did happen, and thank you everyone who subscribed to the fund – I really appreciate it and thank you all very much.”

In brilliant summer sunshine, the Queen hosted the informal ceremony and spent around five minutes chatting to Sir Tom and his family.

She personally praised the veteran telling him: “Thank you so much, an amazing amount of money you raised.”

As the head of state chatted, she was overheard telling the former Army captain who celebrated becoming a centenarian a few months ago: “One hundred is a great age.”

The talk turned to national events and the coronavirus and the Queen, who has been sheltering at Windsor with Philip asked: “Have you been shut up – been isolating?”

The Queen also mentioned Princess Beatrice’s wedding which had taken place earlier in the day, describing the family occasion as “very nice.”

She told Sir Tom and his family: “My granddaughter got married this morning, both Philip and I managed to get there – very nice.”

After the ceremony, Sir Tom had a refreshment break inside the castle and returned to the quadrangle full of vigour and gave a series of interviews to the waiting press.

He said: “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.”

Asked what was better, raising more than £30 million or having the Queen “break her lockdown” to award him the honour, Sir Tom replied: “The money is very useful but you’ve only one Queen and when you get a message from the Queen there’s no value that can be placed on that.”