This 99-year-old War Veteran Is An Inspirational Face Amid The Covid-19 Crisis
Through the course of this coronavirus pandemic, the world has seen so many images representative of this unprecedented time. Some, like a mother and daughter sleeping arm-in-arm while each wearing their own face mask, are heartwarming. Others, like a daughter putting her hand up against the glass of a long-term care home to stare into her mother’s eyes on the other side, are heartbreaking.
But perhaps no image has been as inspirational as that of 99-year-old Second Word War veteran Captain Tom Moore of Bedfordshire, southeast England. Aided by his walker and wearing his medals, he’s been proudly walking 10 lengths each day of his 25-metre garden, done to reach his goal of walking a total of 100 lengths to raise funds for the thousands of health-care staff of the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.
“Captain Tom” completed his 100 lengths on Thursday, April 16, and to date has raised in excess of a staggering 14 million pounds for NHS. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment gave him a guard of honour as he completed the final lap.
His grandson Benjie Ingram-Moore, a Fifth Former at Bedford School, located north of London, has been instrumental in publicizing Captain Tom’s fundraising efforts through social media. “We originally just wanted to do our bit, and try and raise 1,000 pounds,”
With more than 700,000 supporters worldwide, Captain Tom has become the biggest fundraiser for NHS in the world, all because his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore thought the exercise would be good for him following a recent hip replacement. She suggested he challenge himself to do the 10 lengths daily in order to raise funds. Hannah says her father has been “floored” by the amount of the donations.
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We couldn't be more proud of Fifth Former Benjie Ingram-Moore, who is practically single-handedly managing the national good news story that everyone is talking about. It started off as something small and has become the story of a nation and raised over £7million (and counting) for the NHS in the process. You can read Benjie’s story in the link in our bio #walkwithtom #tomorrowwillbeagoodday
Captain Tom, who will turn 100 on April 30, trained as a civil engineer before being enlisted in the British Army during the Second World War. He was selected for officer training, where he was later posted to India. And Captain Tom also served and fought in Indonesia. He later became the managing director of a concrete manufacturer.
U.K. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock says he has been “inspired” by Captain Tom’s efforts. “He has served his country in the past, and he’s serving his country now,” says Hancock.
Captain Tom’s Twitter account, set up and managed by Benjie, has more than 60,000 followers, including such big names as Piers Morgan, Dame Kelly Holmes and Ryder Cup golf legend Ian Poulter. Now, Benjie is using these new-found relationships with the hope that some of these famous names will post video messages wishing Captain Tom a “Happy 100th Birthday” later this month, while at the same time inspiring others to donate to the NHS, by visiting his JustGiving web page.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, has called Captain Tom a “true inspiration” and thanked those who have donated. “What he has achieved in bringing people together and highlighting the appeal has been remarkable,” says Orton.
Captain Tom is an inspiration and a powerful reminder that during these days of a global crisis, the challenge ahead of us is not greater than the strength we have within us.