The Prime Minister has today called Colonel Tom Moore a ‘point of light in our lives’ as he wished him a happy 100th birthday and thanked him for helping to pull the nation together through the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes as Captain Tom has been promoted to Honorary Colonel by the Queen to mark his 100th birthday today after the World War II veteran captured the hearts of the nation by raising £29 million for the NHS by doing laps of his garden.
The promotion comes alongside a personal letter from Her Majesty and the new Colonel has also been re-presented with his Second World War Defence Medal ahead of next week’s VE Day celebrations.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, a delighted Colonel Tom was clearly overwhelmed by his promotion in rank.
He said: ‘To get that honorary rank in my regiment is something I never thought I would anticipate and I never would have imagined that. And if people called me Colonel, well, that would be great wouldn’t it. I’m still Captain Tom, that’s who I really am – but if people choose to call me Colonel, well, thank you very much.’
Thanking people for their support throughout his fundraising walk, he said: ‘There has been so much kindness shown and so many people making kind remarks. It’s really outstanding; I never anticipated anything in my life like this. Thank you to everyone whoever you are.’
And, along with the usual cake and champagne, there were be two poignant flypasts to mark his big day today – by Army Air Corps helicopters as well as a Spitfire and Hurricane in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Colonel Tom said after the flypast: ‘I am one of the few people here who has seen a hurricane fly past in anger, but today, they’re flying past in peace.’
As well-wishers across the globe sent cards in their thousands, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace paid tribute to Colonel Tom, saying he not only embodies ‘the spirit of our incredible veteran community but also the resolve of this nation’.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff, made the appointment, making the veteran the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, which trains 16 and 17-year-old soldiers.
He will be an ‘inspirational role model to generations young and old,’ Sir Mark said.
The veteran, who completed a sponsored walk of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire to raise millions for the NHS through JustGiving, was informed of the promotion in a letter presented by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller, of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, which also awarded him the prestigious annual Regimental Medal.
As well as congratulations from Prince Charles and Camilla, who said he makes her ‘proud to be British’, the veteran has also had a train named after him – The Captain Tom Moore – which will go into service with the new name today, Great Western Railway said.
Captain Tom has been promoted to Honorary Colonel by the Queen to mark his 100th birthday today after the World War II veteran captured the hearts of the nation by raising £29 million for the NHS by doing laps of his garde
The Prime Minister called Colonel Tom Moore a ‘point of light in our lives’ as he wished him a happy 100th birthday
There were be two poignant flypasts to mark his big day today – by Army Air Corps helicopters as well as a Spitfire and Hurricane in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Colonel Tom said after the flypast: ‘I am one of the few people here who has seen a hurricane fly past in anger, but today, they’re flying past in peace.’
Captain Tom Moore, a former British Army Officer, has been promoted to the rank of Colonel on his 100th Birthday by the Queen after he raised £29 million for the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic
Newly-appointed Colonel Tom holds his Yorkshire Regiment Medal next to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller at his home in Bedfordshire
Colonel Tom Moore celebrating his 100th birthday by carrying the 2012 Olympic torch, as he completes a lap of his garden
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller presented the beloved war veteran with the medal – though they maintained social distancing – and Colonel Tom was given gifts and a cake to mark his centenary
Benjie Ingram-Moore, 16, presenting his grandfather Captain Tom Moore with a photograph of the Great Hall of Bedford School, Bedfordshire, filled with cards for his 100th birthday
Giving his own message to Britain as it battles the coronavirus, Colonel Tom stressed the importance of unity.
He told the Express: ‘As you will have come to know, I sincerely believe that we as a nation must always stand together, united and undivided by class, race or religion, and the only way we will defeat this invisible enemy is to stand shoulder to shoulder, and never walk alone.’
To celebrate his birthday, Virgin Radio presenter Chris Evans also sent Colonel Tom a London 2012 Olympic torch – believed to be the only one in existence that can still be lit – which the delighted veteran attempted to blow out.
Colonel Tom, who is celebrating with family at home in Bedfordshire, thanked the public last night, adding: ‘It is quite extraordinary I am turning 100. It is even more extraordinary I am doing so with this many well-wishers… Tomorrow will be a good day.’
Earlier, his family said he had been left ‘completely overwhelmed’ after receiving hundreds of thousands of cards from around the globe to mark his 100th birthday.
Colonel Tom added: ‘It’s strange – one day I am 99 and then the next I am 100. To be honest, I don’t feel any different, and there is plenty of life in the old dog yet I am sure.
‘If it wasn’t for my leg I would be outside in the garden, but I know I am extremely lucky.’
Colonel Tom added that he has always been an optimist, and always tries to never be too ‘down in the dumps’ knowing he has had a ‘life fulfilled’.
The officer had set out at the start of this month to raise £1,000 for NHS Communities – but a surge of support saw him smash his target.
Pictured: A letter box painted blue to mark the 100th birthday of Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore near Bedford
A woman walks her dog past cards and messages outside the home of Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore as he celebrates his 100th birthday
‘You’ll never walk alone’: Pictured is a message left for Colonel Tom Moore on a London Underground noticeboard
Respiratory Physiotherapy staff at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust wished ‘NHS hero’ Colonel Tom a happy birthday
A Happy 100th Birthday message to Colonel Tom Moore from the staff at the Lilac Ward Scarborough Hospital
Staff at Leicester General Hospital Ward 1 thank the officer for his tireless fundraising for healthcare workers
After passing his initial goal in less than 24 hours, donations continued to pour in and the total surged to more than £29million.
He was inundated with support and praise for his incredible effort, with people around the world sending him birthday cards.
It is unclear exactly how many cards he has been sent, though the number passed 120,000 a few days ago, with the cards kept at Bedford School near his home, with grandson Benjie helping to display them.
Speaking yesterday, he said: ‘I am very comfortable and have everything I need. Covid-19 has left so many without, so please donate to those in need. Thank you.’
A family spokesman revealed that the veteran has been left ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the response to his fundraising effort.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment salutes to Former British Army Officer Captain Tom Moore, appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate
The Yorkshire Regiment medal presented to Former British Army Officer Captain Tom Moore, appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate
Newly-appointed Colonel Tom Moore gives a thumbs up as he celebrates his birthday and being appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate
The 2012 Olympic torch – sent to him by Virgin Radio presenter Chris Evans – is believed to be the only one in existence that can still be lit
Colonel Tom had set out at the start of this month to raise £1,000 for NHS Communities – but a surge of support saw him smash his target
A special cushion given to Captain, now Colonel, Tom on his 100th birthday – one of several gifts his family say he has received
The stunning cake presented to Colonel Tom Moore on his 100th birthday today, after the war veteran won the hearts of the nation
Mandy Alison adds to the thousands of birthday cards sent to Captain Tom Moore for his 100th birthday, with the cards displayed in the Hall of Bedford School, where his grandson Benjie, 16, attends
Benjie Ingram-Moore presenting his grandfather Captain Tom Moore with a photograph of the Great Hall of Bedford School, Bedfordshire, filled with thousands of cards for his 100th birthday
Colonel Tom is presented with his cake, as well as a slew of other presents at his home in Bedfordshire ahead of his 100th birthday
A statement said: ‘Captain Tom has been completely overwhelmed by the love he has received. Like many other people during this pandemic, he is not able to spend his birthday with all of his loved ones.
‘Instead Tom is staying at home with his daughter Hannah and her family, who he has been self-isolating with.
‘They will all celebrate privately and will be joined by his daughter Lucy and her family though the use of technology.
Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS
‘Captain Tom will not be leaving his house at all and asks all local people, and those following his story, to stay at home and wish him Happy Birthday from afar.’
The Second World War veteran’s fundraising effort led to an outpouring of support from all over the world.
As well as the walking, he also recorded a version of You’ll Never Walk Alone with singer Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir, which saw even more money raised for charity.
As well as cards flooding in from all over the globe, Colonel will get a Spitfire flypast to mark his 100th birthday.
RAF pilots based at Coningsby in Lincolnshire are expected to soar past the veteran’s home for the incredible display including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters.
An MOD spokesman said: ‘Weather permitting, aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will complete a flypast to celebrate Captain Tom’s birthday and mark his amazing fundraising achievement.
‘The Great British public is encouraged to follow Captain Tom’s disciplined example and not gather to watch the flypast but continue following PHE guidelines on social distancing.’
The flypast is one of several ways Colonel Tom’s birthday will be marked by supporters all over the nation.
He will receive a personalised telegram from the Queen to go with the thousands of cards he has been sent, while the Royal Mail issued a special postmark to mark the occasion.
The cards are being held at Bedford School, attended by his 16-year-old grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore.
Benjie said: ‘It means a lot to grandad as well as us as a family. We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken grandad to its heart. Words can’t express how much I idolise him.’
Dozens of artists, voiceover artists and photographers from across the UK also came together to make a film to celebrate the occasion.
Colonel Tom is depicted in dozens of artworks in the moving film, which is soundtracked by a heartwarming poem penned especially for his centenary.
Mandy Alison adds to the thousands of birthday cards sent to Captain, now Colonel, Tom Moore for his 100th birthday on April 30. They are pictured displayed in the hall of Bedford School
The thousands of cards pictured on display at Bedford School, near Colonel Tom’s home to mark his 100th birthday on Thursday
Colonel Tom’s eldest daughter Lucy Teixeira said he had received at least a thousands gifts ‘of everything from chocolate to flowers’
Colonel Tom was given more than 120,000 birthday cards wishing him well and thanking him for his incredible fundraising feat. His grandson Benjie stands in the Great Hall of Bedford School surrounded by the cards
Pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, have taken over from enthusiasts at Biggin Hill Restoration Hangar in Kent (pictured) for the flypast over Colonel Tom’s house in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire
Benjie Ingram-Moore said: ‘It means a lot to granddad as well as us as a family. We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken granddad to its heart. Words can’t express how much I idolise him.’
War hero and newly-appointed Colonel Tom is pictured with his two daughters Lucy and Hannah in a post on his Twitter account
A total of 140 volunteers including pupils, parents, teachers and alumni have been helping organise the lorry-loads of cards being delivered to wish Colonel Tom a happy 100th birthday.
His eldest daughter Lucy Teixeira said he had received at least a thousands gifts ‘of everything from chocolate and flowers’.
From Yorkshire to India: Colonel Tom Moore’s career in the military
Captain Tom Moore was conscripted into the British Army in June 1940 when he was 20, alongside all men aged 20 to 35.
He began his military career in Otley, West Yorkshire, where he joined the 8th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment under Lieutenant Lord George Saville.
The Regiment was sent to train in Wadebridge, Cornwall where they were tasked with coastal defence amid a predicted German invasion.
A young Captain Moore was soon promoted to Corporal and sent to the officer cadet training unit in Droitwich Spa.
Here, he celebrated his 21st birthday after he passed as a Second Lieutenant.
In August 1941, he was sent to the DWR headquarters in Halifax where he joined the 9th Battalion at Winchcombe.
The infantry battalion then converted to an armoured regiment 146th Royal Armoured Corp, though the majority of the soldiers could not drive.
In October, the unit was posted to Bombay, now Mumbai, in India. The journey took six weeks by sea, with a four-day delay in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a four-day stop in Cape Town.
Captain Moore then took a train from Bombay to Poona, before arriving at Kirkee, a town now known as Khadki.
The 9th DWR formed the 50th Indian Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier Schreiber.
Captain Moore was then asked by the Brigadier to start a motorcycling course for the Brigade due to his expertise for the sport.
The Brigade was then ordered to move to Calcutta – the road journey was in a monsoon and took three weeks.
His Battalion was stationed in the Lohardaga district near Ranchi.
They then took part in two exercises in the Arakan before moving further east and south to Rangoon.
Captain Moore was then sent on a course at the approved vehicle depot in Bovington, England.
He remained here as an instructor until it was closed.
Speaking to the Sunday People, Lucy said: ‘He is absolutely blown away and humbled by the support.’
She added she will be singing Happy Birthday to her father on BBC Breakfast today, saying: ‘And he will have cake – he loves cake.’
Producers at BBC Breakfast worked alongside Buckingham Palace to organise the celebrations to mark the war hero’s big day.
Tom – who currently holds the UK No1 single – will have the entire programme dedicated to his life and achievements.
A TV insider told The Sun that the team on Breakfast have been working with the palace on organising the telegram in time for the morning broadcast which they hope will come with a special message from Her Majesty.
The source said: ‘It’s going to be a really emotional day and they want to make it as memorable as possible for Tom by way of thanks for all he has done.
‘They’re lining up lots of surprises for him too. What Tom has achieved is the most incredible feat and the whole show will be dedicated to Tom and his special day.’
Richard Frediani, editor of BBC Breakfast, said plans were still be confirmed but added: ‘Having followed Captain Tom’s incredible story from the start the UK’s most watched morning show will make sure the nation can safely come together to celebrate Captain Tom’s 100th birthday on Thursday morning on BBC Breakfast.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among the voices praising Cpt Moore for his incredible fundraiser, with Prince William hailing the Second World War veteran as a ‘one-man fundraising machine’.
He added: ‘He’s been around a long time, he knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and determination.’
Colonel Tom became the oldest person to have a No.1 single after his duet with Michael Ball reached the top of the UK charts.
The record was previously held by Tom Jones, who reached No.1 with [Barry] Islands In The Stream aged 68 in 2006, 32 years younger than Tom is now, aged 99.
Colonel Tom, who won the hearts of the nation with his National Health Service fundraising bid, will still hold the top spot when he celebrates his 100th birthday.
His and Michael’s hit version of Liverpool Football Club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone has also become the fastest-selling single of 2020.
Their lead did appear to be threatened by The Weeknd, Drake and Dua Lipa, however The Weeknd backed the veteran in a tweet.
Real name Abel Tesfaye, he tweeted his support of Colonel Tom’s chart bid to his 11.8 million followers, wishing him a happy birthday.
The Royal Mail started stamping all letters with a special postmark to celebrate ‘fundraising hero’ Colonel Tom from yesterday
A total of 140 volunteers including pupils, parents, teachers and alumni have been helping organise the lorry-loads of cards being delivered to wish Colonel Tom a happy 100th birthday
Volunteer Mandy Alison poses with a selection of over 125,000 birthday cards sent to Colonel Tom Moore, for his 100th birthday on April 30th, but displayed in the Great Hall of Bedford School
As well as lining the floors of the Great Hall, cards hang from the ceiling and sit on the stage as staff scrambled for any bit of space to put the influx of letters wishing Colonel Tom Moore a happy 100th birthday
By Sunday Colonel Moore had received around 1,000 gifts and more than 100,000 cards, which are being held at Bedford School, he’s now asked well-wishers to send gifts to people who are suffering during the coronavirus pandemic
The former British Army Officer took to Twitter on Friday to share his gratitude to the Starboy hitmaker, 30, for supporting his song.
Tagging the singer in his message, Colonel Tom, who was also awarded a Pride Of Britain Award, said: ‘My goodness, how gracious of you @theweeknd Benji tells me you’re rather talented and very popular! What a kind gesture. Thank you!’
Speaking from his home in Bedfordshire, where he lives with daughter Hannah and her family, Captain Tom said: ‘What wonderful news to receive today, a No.1 single and a record breaker too – my grandchildren can’t believe I am a chart-topper!
‘I have to thank Michael Ball, the NHS Voices of Care Choir and everyone behind the scenes, who shared their talents and expertise in order to raise money for the NHS, to whom we owe so much.
‘And, of course, the public for buying the single and donating – we’re in this together, and I am forever grateful for your support. And this just proves ”You’ll Never Walk Alone”.’
All of the proceeds from the single will be donated to Captain Tom Moore’s 100th Birthday Walk in aid of NHS Charities Together which supports the NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients.