WW2 hero Captain Tom Moore, 99, vows to 'keep walking as long as people are giving' as he raises £12MILLION for NHS

A WORLD War Two hero just days from his 100th birthday has raised an astonishing £12million for NHS staff with daily walks in his garden.

Captain Tom Moore set out to reach only £1,000 when he started the appeal last week.

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But his pledge to complete 100 laps of the 80ft garden, ten laps at a time, on his frame touched the hearts of millions.

He will reach his goal tomorrow morning at Marston Moretaine, Beds.

Last night, he had raised £8.5million, topped up by £1.7million in Gift Aid and told the Daily Mail: "As long as people are still giving money, I’ll keep walking."

At one stage his JustGiving page almost crashed as 90,000 people donated at once.

Tom, known as Captain Tom, is carrying on until April 30, when he gets his centenary telegram from the Queen.

And an inspired schoolgirl has also started a campaign for children to make cards for him.

He told The Sun: “I didn’t expect the challenge I set myself to get as big as this.

“The support I’ve had from across the world has been overwhelming.

“I have experienced people pulling together at times of crisis in the past and what’s happening today proves again the human spirit and community of our country is quite something.

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“Thank you to the NHS at this terribly sad time. I am with you every step.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told today's No10 briefing: “Captain Tom, you are an inspiration to us all.”

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, who has donated £10,000, said: “It would be great to give this remarkable man something back. Let’s make him Sir Tom.”

Ladbrokes are offering 5/6 that Tom will be knighted by the end of next year.

And Chris Evans on his Virgin Radio breakfast show suggested Tom, who served in a tank regiment fighting the Japanese in Burma, should lead a national victory parade when Covid-19 is beaten.

Tom’s amazing fundraiser grew from a family discussion on how to celebrate his centenary — given the lockdown meant a party was out of the question.

He has lived with daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, 49, and her family since the death of his wife, Pamela, in 2006.

Hannah suggested that if he completed 100 laps of the garden the family would donate £100. Tom walks with a frame because he broke his hip in a fall and wanted to thank staff who looked after him.

He decided to donate any money raised to NHS Charities Together.

Hannah said: “We set up the JustGiving page with a target of £1,000 and thought we were stretching it at a thousand.”

But grandson Benji, 16, set up a social media page and the challenge went global.

Tom says: “It seems almost like fairyland to think that we started off at £1,000 to a sum of money that’s not believable, is it?’

“In the last World War we had soldiers in uniform in khaki,. This time our Army are in doctors and nurses’ uniform. They’re doing such a marvellous job.”

Hannah runs a recruitment company and, with the business in lockdown, she and the rest of the family now call themselves Team Captain Tom.

She said: “I want to say to everybody who has been so generous that you are investing in him and investing in the NHS.


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“This is a 99-year-old man who has been slightly wobbled by a broken hip and has been given an additional purpose in life.

“He is happy and wants to serve the British people by keeping on walking.”

Tom grew up in Keighley, West Yorks. At 20, he joined the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, part of the Royal Armoured corps, and fought in the 1942-3 Arakan campaign.

He returned to the UK to train tank crews at Bovington, Wilts, and continue his hobby as a motocross rider. After the war he returned to civilian life but married late to Pamela, 15 years his junior.

Hannah said: “He didn’t have children until his 50s. Until we had children we did not really realise the amazing steel rod we have running through us that everything will be all right.

“Tom taught us to make the best of it and to never look on the gloomy side. To believe there is a way to get through it.”

But Tom nearly died after smashing his hip, breaking ribs and puncturing a lung in a fall when was unloading the dishwasher.

He was hospitalised and later developed skin cancer on his head.

Hannah said: “I wasn’t sure he would survive but through the incredible care he received on the NHS he did and he came home.

“I can’t praise them enough. Now, it is time for us to do something in return.”

Delighted Tom said: “Tomorrow will be a good day, even if today was all right. That’s the way I always look at it.

Kind Reegan Davies, eight, has set a goal for children to make 1,500 virtual cards for his 100th birthday. The schoolgirl, from Port Talbot, South Wales, said: “You can post them on any social media with the hashtag #makeacardfortom.”

Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said: “Great thanks and huge respect go to Captain Tom Moore, whose incredible gesture and support for our NHS people is very much appreciated by everyone working in our health service.

Tom shows that everyone has something they can do to support the Covid-19 response.”


Meanwhile, billionaire landowner the Duke of Westminster has donated an extra £10million to the relief effort.

Hugh Grosvenor, 29, a godparent of Prince George, said most of his money will go to NHS Charities Together, to provide respite, rehabilitation and mental health assistance to NHS staff and their families.

The Duke, who inherited £8.3billion in 2016 said he was “humbled and incredibly grateful by NHS workers’ efforts.

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