At 99, veteran of World War II in India raises £7 million
People locked down in homes around the world have contributed over £7 million to a fund-raising effort by a 99-year-old veteran of the Second World War, who set a goal of completing 100 laps in his garden to initially raise £1,000 as a tribute to doctors and nurses.
Tom Moore, who rose to be a captain in the British army and served in colonial India and Burma, wanted to express his gratitude to medical staff in the National Health Service (NHS), who looked after him and helped him recover from a hip operation and skin cancer.
Millions of Britons and others hunkering down in homes in lockdowns watched him complete 10 laps a day with the help of a walking aid in his Yorkshire home when he began on April 8. The initial target was soon reached, with £70,000 raised within 24 hours.
The figure reached £7 million live on BBC television on Wednesday morning as Moore watched in grateful bewilderment.
Moore said: “I think that’s absolutely enormous. At no time when we started off with this exercise did we anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money…Our brave nurses and doctors are frontline in this case … this time our army are in doctors and nurses uniforms and they’re doing a marvellous job.”
“It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our NHS and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money. It’s almost unbelievable isn’t it,” he said from his home in Keighley.
There is an outpouring of gratitude and concern for NHS staff dealing with tens of thousands of people stricken with coronavirus in the UK. Many have recovered, but over 12,000 people have passed away, as temporary mega hospitals came up in London, Cardiff and elsewhere.
Moore’s daughter, Hannah, said her father was overwhelmed when the figure reached the first £1 million, but he responded with a determination to walk more: “He’s a typical Yorkshireman, so he’s very stoic, very controlled and takes everything in his stride.”
“We always knew that he was this incredible gem of a man, but we never had any idea that his story would capture the hearts of the nation. We thought we could give people a little bit of happy and we wanted to share a little bit about him, and it has just gone beyond even our wildest, wildest dreams.”
The money raised will be donated to NHS Charities Together, a group representing various charity organisations linked to the NHS.
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