World War II hero Captain Tom Moore has raised more than £5million for the ‘brave nurses and doctors’ of the NHS by marching around his garden on a zimmer frame.
The 99-year-old had initially set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his 25-metre garden in Bedfordshire – but he has now smashed his target by 5,000 times in less than a week.
Captain Moore, who was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, even caused his JustGiving page to crash this morning when 90,000 people rushed to sponsor him in his endeavour to support NHS heroes.
He had aimed to complete his challenge and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by his 100th birthday on April 30 – but he is on track to finish his final 20 laps by Thursday.
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire as he reached the landmark figure this morning, Captain Moore said the achievement was ‘completely out of this world.’
He added that he never believed he would raise ‘anything near that sort of money’ when he began his sponsored walk on April 9.
Captain Tom Moore set out last Thursday to walk 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire lawn and raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together before he turns 100 on April 30
During the Second World War Tom Moore was posted in India, serving and fighting on the Arakan in south east Asia. He later joined the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington
The veteran smashed through his target in less than a day – and he has now raised a remarkable £5million for those working on the front line amid the coronavirus pandemic
‘Thank you so much to all the people who have subscribed to the NHS because for every penny that we get, they deserve every one of them,’ he said.
‘At no time when we started off with this exercise did we anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money.
‘It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our National Health Service and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money.’
His family added on Twitter: ‘5 MILLION! Huge thank you to @JustGiving who had over 90,000 people on Tom’s page at one time, and had to try ensure that the site didn’t crash.
‘WOW – just speechless. #walkwithtom #tomorrowwillbeagoodday.’
It came as Piers Morgan launched a campaign this morning to get Captain Moore a knighthood for his extraordinary fundraising efforts.
The bookies have also made it 5/6 that the 99-year-old will be honoured before the end of next year.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Piers, who donated £10,000 to the fundraiser, said: ‘It suddenly came to me – would it be nice to see Captain Tom Moore, who served his country in World War II, and has now raised over £4million for the NHS in a week, wouldn’t it be great to see him knighted for his services to the country?
Captain Moore’s family said on Twitter 90,000 people were on the veteran’s page at once
Victoria Derbyshire, who spoke to Captain Moore as he hit the landmark sum, took to social media to share her congratulations
‘Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t feel temptation to give it to business people who pay money for the honour, we didn’t give it to celebrities for singing nice songs, but we give it to someone like him? That we make him Sir Tom?’
‘I think that would be great,’ he added. ‘Let’s give him something back.’
Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: ‘Captain Tom’s fundraising efforts are beyond incredible and he deserves to be honoured.’
Mr Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the army for the Second World War, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma.
He went on to serve on the Arakan in south east Asia before he returned to Britain to become an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington.
The veteran and his family set out to raise £1,000 initially, but as donations flooded in they decided to raise the target to £500,000.
The fundraiser had topped £1million as of 9am on Tuesday, before surpassing £5million this morning with thousands still being donated now.
‘It seems almost like fairy land to think that we started off at 1,000 to a sum of money that’s not believable, is it?’ he said.
‘Whereas in the last war we had soldiers in uniform in khaki, this time our army are in doctors and nurse’s uniform. They’re doing such a marvellous job.’
Racing enthusiast Cpt Tom Moore is in the middle of doing 100 lengths of his garden at his Bedfordshire home to raise money for the NHS
The latest goal was comfortably beaten on Monday, with a quarter of a million supporters now having raised ten times the new target.
Speaking on Tuesday, Captain Moore’s daughter Sophie said: ‘We have decided as a family we won’t reset the target. We feel that we have shown a window into the world of a gem. Now the nation has taken this gem of a man into our hearts.
‘We feel that it’s now up to the British public to take this as far as it should go, Tom will continue to walk and we, the family and friends, will continue to support him, this is now in the hands of the British public.’
Showing his gratitude for the overwhelming support Brits have seen him, the Second World War captain said: ‘I would say thank you, very very much, you’re so kind and it’s such a benefit to many many people.
‘You’re giving hope to the people who are at the moment find it very, very difficult, but we shall survive and we shall get through it in the end.’
Tenants of Lissenden Gardens, north London, were out on Thursday, April 9, to pay a special thanks for health care workers with music and applause
This family have decorated their street with artwork praising the hardwork of the NHS and reminding people to stay home, stay safe last Thursday
Each week since the lockdown started Britons have been out on their doorsteps clapping for the NHS workers who are on the frontline of a global pandemic.
Boris Johnson, who came out of ICU in London last week after being struck down by the virus, paid a special thanks to two nurses, Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal, near Porto.
He continued: ‘The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.’
On Monday, Piers Morgan personally donated £10,000 toward Captain Moore’s cause and told the near-centenarian: ‘Captain Tom Moore, thank you for serving your country. I’m so glad that we were able, through the brilliant NHS, to serve you back and keep you going.
Captain Tom Moore, 99, appeared on Good Morning Britain with his daughter Hannah on Monday morning
‘Good luck – I want to get you over the line today. Here’s what I’m going to do, Tom, I’m going to put £10,000 of my own money into your fundraising today and I hope that encourages everyone watching at home to do the same.
‘Little or small, whatever you can do. Let’s get you over the half a million. You’ve got 10 grand from me.’
The donation meant he had raised more than £400,000, 24 hours later, the total had more than doubled.
The 99-year-old tweeted his thanks to Susanna Reid and Piers for having him on the show, adding: ‘Piers – I salute you’.
Rainbows thanking the NHS and encouraging the public to stay positive during the lockdown have popped up around the country, this one is in a window in Portobello, Edinburgh
There have been other fundraisers set up to help support the NHS.
Ian Alcorn, a bathroom fitter from Nottingham, planned to raise £100 for the NHS coronavirus effort by encouraging friends and family to camp in their gardens, however his fundraiser quickly gathered over £100,000.
As a way of entertaining his children, he set up a tent in his back garden, inviting a few friends and neighbours to join at home and donate £2 to NHS Charities Together.
Mr Alcorn said: ‘The basis of the idea stemmed from boredom at home, it was a Sunday night and I was waiting for Antiques Roadshow to come on.
‘My wife’s a key worker so there were some days we needed to fill and others not. I thought at the weekend, let’s treat the kids to a camp-out. We couldn’t go out so we would camp in the garden!’