Captain Tom Moore 'overawed' by knighthood for NHS fundraising

  • Published
Media caption,

Captain Tom: 'I hope the Queen's not heavy handed with the sword'

Captain Tom Moore said he was "overawed" to find out he was being awarded a knighthood for his fundraising efforts.

The war veteran raised more than £32m for NHS charities by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.

Capt Tom's initial reaction was "this can't be true" when told about the honour.

Boris Johnson said the veteran had provided the country with "a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus".

Capt Tom said he had been "given an outstanding honour by the Queen and the prime minister".

"I am certainly delighted and overawed by the fact this has happened to me," he said.

"I thought this can't be true, I've always said this won't happen and it appears it actually has.

"I certainly never anticipated that this letter would arrive for me."

Media caption,

Captain Tom: Cockpit view of RAF flypast in Marston Moretaine

As an honorary colonel, his official title will be Captain Sir Thomas Moore under Ministry of Defence protocol.

Capt Tom, who was given the honorary title of colonel on his 100th birthday, had initially set out to raise £1,000 for NHS charities by walking laps of the 25m (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.

But he eventually raised £32,794,701 from more than one and a half million supporters.

His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, said the knighthood was "simply extraordinary".

Grandson Benjie Ingram-Moore said: "You never even dream of a letter like this coming through the door.

"It was an amazing moment for him and the entire family."

Image source, @captaintommoore
Image caption,
Capt Tom served in India and Myanmar during World War Two

Lewis Hamilton told Capt Tom - a Formula One fan - he was "in awe" of his achievements.

Former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham told him "in hard, hard times the country needs something like this to inspire them".

Michael Ball, whose version of You'll Never Walk Alone recorded with Capt Tom reached number one, said it was a "fitting honour for a true British hero".

While a pilot drew a smiley face in the sky above his house.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Capt Tom has decided to set up a loneliness foundation, out of concern for the many people "who are feeling so very much on their own" at the moment.

He does not know when he will receive the honour, but he hopes the Queen "is not very heavy-handed with the sword, as by then I might be a rather poor old weak soul".

Birthday Honours delay

By Lizo Mzimba, entertainment correspondent

Publication of the Queen's Birthday Honours list on 12 June has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boris Johnson said it would be published in the autumn and would recognise "the extraordinary contributions being made by so many" in response to the coronavirus.

In a statement to parliament he said while there is a "huge appetite across the country to say thank you to all those on the frontline" the priority is to tackle the public health emergency.

Capt Tom's knighthood announcement is a special nomination from the prime minister in recognition of his extraordinary fundraising.

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