RAF flypast to honour Captain Tom Moore with aerial salute for NHS fundraising

Video of his effort hit a nerve with the British public, who are enduring the restrictions of a coronavirus lockdown

Second World War veteran raises millions for UK health service

Second World War veteran raises millions for UK health service
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A World War Two veteran whose efforts to help the UK’s National Health Service have touched the hearts of millions is to celebrate his 100th birthday with a fanfare that a month ago he would never have dreamed possible.

On Thursday, instead of the quiet celebration that Captain Tom Moore had been expecting under coronavirus lockdown restrictions, an RAF flypast will provide an aerial salute in the skies above his home in Marston, Bedfordshire.

Exact details have not been revealed for operational reasons but also, as the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said on Tuesday, it was “meant to be a surprise for Tom”.

Mr Shapps stepped in after the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar in Kent revealed that its planned Mark 9 Spitfire flypast had been denied permission by the Department for Transport because it was non-essential aviation travel. News reports also cited fears that it might attract crowds.

Meanwhile, more than 125,000 birthday cards have been sent, including tributes from England football captain Harry Kane and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to a school in Bedford where Captain Moore’s grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, is a pupil.

In this photo taken Tuesday, April 21, 2020, artist Sam Bailey puts the finishing touches to a mural acknowledging the work being done by the NHS, emergency services and the fundraising exploits of Captain Tom Moore, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus, in Northampton, England. The artwork stands at 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide and has been created using 600 epaulettes from service personnel from around the world. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
Artist Sam Bailey puts the finishing touches to a mural acknowledging the work being done by the NHS, emergency services and the fundraising exploits of Captain Tom Moore. AP

Benjie, 16, has taken over card-opening duties, enlisting the help of others at the school in the enormous undertaking. More than 140 staff, parents, pupils and former students have spent 1,750 hours opening each and every one.

Hugh Maltby, the director of Bedford School Association, told Sky News: "Benjie has been such an inspiration in his grandfather's campaign that we wanted to offer a way of giving back.”

A record breaker

More cards are expected to arrive in coming days, and will - along with any other mail posted in the UK this week - be stamped with a special postmark that says: "Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore, NHS fundraising hero, 30th April 2020."

Just four weeks ago, Captain Moore decided to raise some money for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden in gratitude for treatment he had received by medical workers for cancer and a broken hip.
With the aid of a walking frame, he set off with the goal of reaching £1,000 before his 100th birthday on April 30. He has so far raised almost £30 million.

Video footage of his effort hit a nerve with the British public living under tight restrictions, including a lockdown, to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers, in the UK as in other countries, are widely seen as the frontline force against the coronavirus.

The astonishing feat has inspired an outpouring of love for the retired army officer and company director, who was born in West Yorkshire. He has been given the Freedom of Keighley and the Pride of Britain award, murals and paintings have been created in his image, and all manner of things now bear his name from buses to the newest puppy recruit with the West Midlands Police.

It also broke a Guinness World Record for the largest funds raised for an individual walk, the framed certificate for which will hang nicely next to the one that he has just received for being the oldest person to have a Number 1 single in the UK charts.

Captain Moore’s duet of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with Michael Ball will still be topping the chart on Sunday, making him the first centenarian ever to have done so. It has sold more than 82,000 copies, raising even more funds for NHS Charities Together.

Now, an online petition set up by Sonia Wilson, an NHS midwife, calling for Captain Moore to be knighted has attracted more than 950,000 signatures. The petition, on Change.org, says: "I know how much his fundraising and support means on the ground. And how much it means to staff during this awful pandemic. He deserves to be knighted. Please sign to make it happen."

A handout picture released by Guinness World Records on April 24, 2020 shows World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, posing with his two certificates after he broke the record for the most money raised by charity walk (individual) with his effort to raise over 27 million GBP for the NHS and at the age of 99 years 359 days became the oldest person to reach number one in the UK charts after teaming up with British singer Michael Ball to release a cover of 'You’ll never walk alone'.  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / EMMA SOHL" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED FOR USE TO ILLUSTRATE THE FACTS, PEOPLE OR THINGS MENTION IN THE CAPTION - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO RESALE - NO ARCHIVE - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / Emma SOHL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / EMMA SOHL" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED FOR USE TO ILLUSTRATE THE FACTS, PEOPLE OR THINGS MENTION IN THE CAPTION - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO RESALE - NO ARCHIVE - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A handout picture released by Guinness World Records on April 24, 2020 shows World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, posing with his two certificates after he broke the record for the most money raised by charity walk (individual) with his effort to raise over 27 million GBP for the NHS and at the age of 99 years 359 days became the oldest person to reach number one in the UK charts after teaming up with British singer Michael Ball to release a cover of 'You’ll never walk alone'. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / EMMA SOHL" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED FOR USE TO ILLUSTRATE THE FACTS, PEOPLE OR THINGS MENTION IN THE CAPTION - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO RESALE - NO ARCHIVE - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / Emma SOHL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS / EMMA SOHL" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED FOR USE TO ILLUSTRATE THE FACTS, PEOPLE OR THINGS MENTION IN THE CAPTION - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO RESALE - NO ARCHIVE - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS