Captain Tom Moore’s NHS appeal hits £30 million on his 100th birthday
By Sam Russell and Jess Glass, PA
The appeal by NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore topped £30 million on Thursday as he celebrated his 100th birthday.
The World War Two veteran originally set out to walk 100 laps of his garden before his milestone with a fundraising target of £1,000.
But his determination captured the public imagination and at around 9.20 on Thursday, an hour after the RAF staged a flypast in his honour, he reached £30 million raised for NHS charities.
“Thank you everyone, you are all magnificent,” he wrote on Twitter after reaching the total.
Earlier he had thanked the public for their “very overwhelming” generosity, telling supporters in a handwritten note that the past few weeks had put a spring in his step.
He has received thousands of cards from well wishers, including the Queen, and got a birthday message from the Prime Minister on Thursday.
Capt Tom said: “Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming.
“People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it’s actually what you have done for me which is remarkable.
“I felt a little frustrated and disappointed after I broke my hip and it knocked my confidence.
“However, the past three weeks have put a spring back in my step. I have renewed purpose and have thoroughly enjoyed every second of this exciting adventure, but I can’t keep walking forever.”
Capt Tom said the donations page will close on Thursday evening, but encouraged people to continue to donate directly to NHS charities.
He finished his message by saying: “My legs may be tired, but my mind is racing and I’m hoping to be back very soon with other ways in which I can help people, help others.
“Please always remember, ‘Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day’.”
Capt Tom was thanked and wished happy birthday by NHS Charities Together, who will have distributed £20 million to good causes by the end of the week.
Chief executive Ellie Orton said: “Captain Tom’s incredible dedication to our appeal has captured the hearts and minds of the UK, and rightly so – what he has achieved will make a lasting difference.
“We cannot thank him enough for all that he’s achieved and we wish him a very happy birthday, and look forward to continuing to ensure that what he’s done is used to improve the lives of the NHS staff and volunteers that are giving so much to their communities at the moment.”
A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane was organised by the RAF to mark his birthday and he was also appointed as an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College on his special day.
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith made the appointment, which was approved by the Queen.
The Queen also sent Capt Tom a birthday card which was delivered by the Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis.
Speaking about the flypast, Capt Tom said: “I’m one of the few people here who’ve seen Hurricanes and Spitfires flying past in anger.
“Fortunately today they’re all flying peacefully.”
He told BBC Breakfast it was “really something special” to be able to say “honorary colonel”.
Capt Tom, who is a cricket fan, has also been made an honorary member of the England cricket team.
He said it was “very difficult to put into words” what he is experiencing.
He was spending his special day at home with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her family, who he has been self-isolating with, and will be joined by his other daughter Lucy and her family digitally.
Ms Ingram-Moore told BBC Breakfast: “I think we know that he has touched the hearts of many people around the world.
“We, as a family, have come a long way in these last few weeks, and we are working hard to look at what is the future, what’s the future legacy, but he needs to have a little rest now.”
Capt Tom has been overwhelmed with birthday messages, including more than 140,000 cards which are being opened at a special sorting office set up at his grandson’s school.
In his birthday message to Capt Moore, Boris Johnson said: “Captain Tom, I know I speak for the whole country when I say ‘We wish you a very happy 100th birthday’.
“Your heroic efforts have lifted the spirits of the entire nation. You’ve created a channel to enable millions to say a heartfelt thank you to the remarkable men and women in our NHS who are doing the most astounding job.
“There is a tradition going back some years now where the Prime Minister takes a moment each day to thank someone for their service to others.
“By recognising them as a point of light. Captain Tom, that is exactly what you are – a point of light in all our lives.”
Capt Moore thanked the Prime Minister for his “really outstanding” message.
He was also awarded the Freedom of the City of London on Thursday in recognition of his charity work.
Royal Mail has painted a postbox in Capt Moore’s village NHS blue in tribute to his fundraising efforts.
The postbox, in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire, has been decorated with a golden balloon.
Bill Chandi, who has been Marston Moretaine’s postmaster for 32 years, said: “This has been an incredible time – far, far busier than even Christmas, but I am very happy to help as Captain Tom is a remarkable man, a real role model.”