Captain Tom

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Sir Tom Moore
Moore wearing a blazer sporting his regimental badge, regimental tie and three medals
Moore during his fund-raising walk, wearing the 1939–1945 Star, Burma Star, and War Medal 1939–1945
Born (1920-04-30) 30 April 1920 (age 100)
Occupation
Known for
Spouse(s)
Pamela Paull
(m. 1968; d. 2006)
Children2
Awards
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1939–1946
Rank
Unit
Battles/wars
Websitewww.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs Edit this at Wikidata

Captain Sir Thomas Moore (born 30 April 1920), popularly known as Captain Tom, is a former British Army officer known for his achievements raising money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moore served in India, the Burma campaign, and Sumatra during the Second World War, and later became an instructor in armoured warfare. After the war, he worked as managing director of a concrete company and was an avid motorcycle racer.

On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, he began to walk laps of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, with the goal of raising £1,000 by his hundredth birthday. In the 24-day course of his fundraising he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the United Kingdom, generating much interest in his life story, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. He featured in a cover version of the song "You'll Never Walk Alone", with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts and made him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one.

On the morning of his hundredth birthday the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million. His birthday was marked in a number of ways, including flypasts by the Royal Air Force and the British Army. He received over 150,000 cards, and was appointed as honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College. His knighthood was announced on 19 May,[1] and conferred the next day.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Moore was born at Keighley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on 30 April 1920 and grew up in the town. His father, Wilfred, was one of a family of builders,[3][unreliable source?][4][5] his mother was a head teacher.[6] Moore was educated at Keighley Grammar School and completed an apprenticeship in civil engineering.[7]

Military service[edit]

Moore was conscripted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment (8 DWR) in 1940, stationed in Cornwall, shortly after the beginning of the Second World War.[3] He was selected for officer training later that year,[7] and attended an Officer Cadet Training Unit before being commissioned as a second lieutenant on 28 June 1941.[8]

On 22 October 1941, Moore became a member of the Royal Armoured Corps. This was because 8 DWR became an armoured unit designated as the 145th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[7][9] Later that year, he was transferred to the 9th Battalion (9 DWR) in India, which had also been redesignated as the 146th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[10] While in India he was tasked with setting up and running a training programme for army motorcyclists.[10] He was initially posted to Bombay (now Mumbai) and subsequently to Calcutta (now Kolkata).[3]

He was promoted to war-substantive lieutenant on 1 October 1942 and to temporary captain on 11 October 1944.[11]

As part of the Fourteenth Army, the so-called "Forgotten Army", he served in Arakan in western Burma (now Myanmar) — where he survived Dengue fever[10] — and afterward in Sumatra after the Japanese surrender,[7][12] by which time he had risen to the rank of Captain.[7][12] His regiment were equipped with M3 Lee tanks and participated in the Battle of Ramree Island in January–February 1945.[13]

On his return to Britain, he served as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School at Bovington Camp, Dorset.[7][12]

Medals[edit]

He has been awarded the following medals:[14]

Knight Bachelor Ribbon.png

Ribbon - 1939-45 Star.png Ribbon - Burma Star.png Ribbon - Defence Medal.png Ribbon - War Medal.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Knight Bachelor Ribbon.png Knight Bachelor 20 May 2020[2]
Ribbon - 1939-45 Star.png 1939–1945 Star
Ribbon - Burma Star.png Burma Star
Ribbon - Defence Medal.png Defence Medal Reissued 30 April 2020[15]
Ribbon - War Medal.png War Medal 1939–1945

Career and hobbies[edit]

After leaving the army, he worked as a sales manager for a roofing materials company in Yorkshire,[16] and later as managing director of a Fens-based company manufacturing concrete,[17] Cawood Concrete Products Ltd, which was renamed March Concrete Products Ltd. after he led a management buyout in 1983.[18][19] The company was sold to ARC in 1987.[18]

For 64 years, he organised the DWR's annual reunion.[3]

Moore raced motorcycles competitively — he purchased his first when he was 13[12] — wearing the number 23.[20] He rode a Scott motorcycle, winning several trophies.[3]

He was a contestant in the Christmas Day 1983 edition of the BBC Television game show Blankety Blank.[21]

Tom's 100th Birthday Walk[edit]

On 6 April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with his hundredth birthday approaching, Moore began a fundraising campaign for NHS Charities Together, a group of charities supporting staff, volunteers and patients in the British National Health Service (NHS). He aimed to complete one hundred 25-metre (27-yard) laps of his garden, ten laps per day, with the help of a walking frame, branding the endeavour "Tom's 100th Birthday Walk For The NHS".[17][22][23]

The initial £1,000 goal having been realised on 10 April, the target was increased, first to £5,000,[24] and eventually to £500,000 as more people around the world became involved.[25] Contributions rose exponentially after British media publicised the endeavour, beginning when Moore made a brief appearance by telephone, on Michael Ball's Sunday programme on BBC Radio 2 on 12 April.[26]. Moore, who joined Twitter in the same month, used the site to express joy at the public's generosity in donating such a large amount of money.[27]

He achieved his target of one hundred laps on the morning of 16 April, watched at a safe distance by a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment,[28] the regiment into which the DWR were merged in 2006.[29] He said he would not stop, and aimed to do a second hundred.[12]

On the morning of his birthday he had raised £30 million[30] The JustGiving page for his campaign closed at the end of that day; the final amount raised subsequently being stated there as £32,796,475 (plus another £6,173,663.31 expected in tax rebates under the Gift Aid scheme)[31] – a record for a JustGiving campaign,[32][33] beating the previous record of £5.2 million raised (partially posthumously) by Stephen Sutton.[34][35] More than 1.5 million individuals donated.[31]

Funds raised by Moore are being spent on such things as well-being packs for National Health Service staff facilitating rest and recuperation rooms, devices to enable hospital patients to keep in contact with family members, and community groups who support patients once discharged from hospitals.[12][36] Once his campaign ended, Moore encouraged people to continue to donate, directly to the NHS Charities Together's urgent appeal,[37] and subsequently via his own Captain Tom Foundation.[38]

On reaching the £5 million mark, Moore explained his motivation:[39]

When we started off with this exercise we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money. It's really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They're all so brave. Because every morning or every night they're putting themselves into harm's way, and I think you've got to give them full marks for that effort. We're a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they're all on the front line, and all of us behind, we've got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they're doing now.

Number one single[edit]

To mark Moore's 100th lap, the singer Michael Ball sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" for him live on BBC Breakfast.[40] Within 24 hours,[41] the performance was made into a digital single featuring the NHS Voices of Care Choir, and Moore's spoken words.[40] Released by Decca Records,[42] on 17 April, with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together, the recording topped the United Kingdom's "The Official Big Top 40" chart. It sold almost 36,000 copies in its first 48 hours,[43] and was "biggest trending song" as measured by the Official Charts Company.[42] On 24 April, it went straight to No. 1 in the weekly "Official" UK Singles Chart, making Moore the oldest person to achieve that position and meaning that he was at No. 1 on his 100th birthday,[44] and became a one-hit wonder.

Moore's bid to reach No. 1 was boosted when his leading competitor, the then-current No. 1, The Weeknd, used Twitter to ask people to support Moore and make him No. 1 for his 100th birthday.[45][46] The Weeknd's song, "Blinding Lights", duly dropped to No. 2.[44]

Recognition[edit]

On 16 April, after Moore's 100th lap, a UK Government spokesman said:[47]

the Prime Minister will certainly be looking at ways to recognise Tom's heroic efforts.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, described Moore as:[48]

an absolute legend [from] an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today.

Via video link, Moore was guest of honour at, and opened, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber, in Harrogate, on 21 April.[48][49]

Service ribbon of the Yorkshire Regiment Medal

On 23 April, he was given a Pride of Britain award in recognition of his efforts, after "thousands of nominations" were received.[50][51] He was appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, Yorkshire, a training centre for soldiers under 18, on his 100th birthday.[52][53] When acting in that capacity, he will be addressed as "Colonel Tom".[54] He also received the Yorkshire Regiment Medal for his "outstanding contribution to our military effectiveness and military reputation".[15] Also on his birthday, he was named a "Point of Light" by the Prime Minister.[55]

In early May, he was awarded a gold Blue Peter badge, the highest accolade issued by the BBC Television children's programme.[56]

Keighley Town Council stated that they will grant Moore the Freedom of Keighley.[57][58] On 12 May, he was granted the Freedom of the City of London, via a video call.[59]

By 20 April, more than 800,000 people had signed a petition calling for Moore to be knighted.[60] Late on 19 May, it was announced that he was to be knighted following a special nomination by the prime minister.[61] The knighthood is part of the 2020 Special Honours,[62] and was conferred on 20 May 2020.[2]

Media[edit]

A number of artists have painted portraits of Moore; some said they would gift the paintings to him,[63] or sell them to raise more funds.[64] Others depicted him in murals, including examples in Cambourne,[65] Tamworth,[66] and Thetford.[67]

Moore has given over 150 media interviews.[10] On 6 May, BBC One changed its advertised schedule to screen a 30-minute BBC News Special, Captain Tom: We Salute You, presented by Michael Ball.[26] During the programme, Ball visited Moore at his home, and at the end of the programme the pair duetted, a capella, the first verse of their hit single.[26] Another UK television channel, ITV, screened a 30-minute documentary, Captain Tom's War, on 8 May, in which Moore reminisced about his military career.[68][10]

Guinness World Records[edit]

Moore holds two Guinness World Records: as the fundraiser raising the greatest amount of money in an individual charity walk, and as the oldest person to have a number-one single on the UK charts.[69]

100th birthday[edit]

Over a week before Moore's 100th birthday, so many cards had been sent to him that Royal Mail had had to introduce dedicated sorting facilities and around 20 volunteers were recruited to open and display them, at the local Bedford School.[70] By his birthday over 150,000 cards had been received.[71][unreliable source?][72]

Mock-up of Royal Mail's Captain Tom Moore postmark, as used 26 April–1 May 2020

Royal Mail announced that all stamped post between 26 April and 1 May would be postmarked "Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore NHS fundraising hero 30th April 2020". Royal Mail also celebrated his birthday by painting a postbox, near his home, the shade of blue used by the NHS, with a golden balloon and inscription on the side.[73]

Hawker Hurricane LF363, one of the aircraft used in the RAF flypast (seen in 2011)

On the morning of his birthday, a Hawker Hurricane and a Spitfire from the Royal Air Force's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight performed a flypast over Moore's house.[72] In the afternoon, a second flypast featured two Army Air Corps helicopters, a Wildcat and an Apache.[74][75]

Michael Ball appeared live on BBC Breakfast to sing "Happy Birthday to You" to Moore.[72] Birthday congratulations were also made by the likes of Boris Johnson, Harry Kane, Prince Charles,[76] and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.[77]

Instead of the standard 100th birthday message from Queen Elizabeth II, he received a personalised card, presented in person by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis.[78]

Namesakes[edit]

Keighley Bus Company named one of its Optare Versa buses Captain Tom Moore on 20 April, and reprogrammed the electronic displays to show a "Thank You Captain Tom" message intermittently in between the vehicle's route and destination. A plaque inside the bus gives further information of Moore's life and fundraising.[79] Other buses in the town, and across parent company Transdev Blazefield, displayed an intermittent "Thank You NHS" message. Alex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev Blazefield, described the vehicle as the "pride of the fleet" in dedication to Moore, thanking him for his fundraising efforts.[80] On 25 April, bus company Stagecoach East, which runs services in Bedford where Moore now lives, named one of its Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC double-decker buses Captain Tom Moore.[81]

GWR's 800 025, Captain Tom Moore

On 29 April Great Western Railway named a Class 800 train, 800 025, Captain Tom Moore.[82] On 30 April GB Railfreight named a Class 66, 66 731, Capt. Tom Moore – A True British Inspiration.[83]

Also, in late April, West Midlands Police named a police dog puppy Captain Tom Moore, the name being an "overwhelming favourite" in an online vote to name dogs after "NHS heroes".[84] The dog, a Dutch Herder, was chosen as his father was, like Moore, born and bred in Yorkshire.[84] World Horse Welfare named a foal, recently born at its base in Thetford, Captain Tom, after a poll on social media.[85] A Clydesdale horse born in the Lake District on Moore's birthday was also named Captain Tom.[86] Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service named a powerboat Captain Tom.[72]

Bedford Hospital will also be naming a new landscaped garden after him.[87]

Similar fundraising efforts[edit]

Moore's success inspired a number of other people to raise funds by walking, including a six-year-old Bristol boy with spina bifida, who was only recently able to walk for the first time and aimed to raise £99 by walking ten metres (11 yards), but in the end achieved almost £195,000;[88][89] a 13-year old stroke survivor who walked on a treadmill; a young boy who is non-verbal through autism, but wrote down that he wanted to help, and former Scotland international rugby player Mike Biggar, who survived a major brain injury in a 1992 car crash and raised nearly £25,000 by walking 100 steps.[90][91]

Retired Welsh farmer Rhythwyn Evans raised funds[92] by walking 91 laps of his bungalow in Silian, Ceredigion, on his 91st birthday on 18 April. Evans said that his walk was "inspired by and in solidarity with Captain Tom Moore" and that he aimed to raise £1,000 for his local health board "to give something back to the community", having lived to a "ripe old age".[93][94] As of 3 May, Evans had raised over £42,000.[92]

A nine-year-old boy, using a walking frame due to cerebral palsy, raised £12,000. He was only managing 50 metres (55 yards) a day before he started. As of 27 April he was walking 750 metres (820 yards) daily and intending to complete the equivalent of a full marathon.[95]

A 10-year-old double leg amputee from Mirfield aims to walk 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometres) every day for ten days, for charity after being inspired by Moore's example. She lost both legs when she was baby due to meningitis and septicaemia and says she will complete the feat – almost a marathon – in her garden or on a treadmill.[96]

Personal life[edit]

Moore married Pamela in 1968,[97] and they had two daughters,[97] Lucy[98] and Hannah. When Moore was working at Cawood/ March Concrete, the family lived at Welney in Norfolk.[17]

Pamela died in 2006.[17] Moore has lived with Hannah, her husband, and two grandchildren, in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, since 2008.[12] He also has two other grandchildren.[3] His great-nephew is a paediatric junior doctor at East Surrey Hospital.[99]

In 2018, he received treatment from the NHS for skin cancer and, separately, a broken hip and other serious injuries, following a fall.[3][17][22][72][100][101] He has also had a hip replacement and two knee replacements.[99]

Moore's autobiography "Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day" is scheduled for publication by Penguin Books in September 2020.[102][103] A version for children is also planned.[103]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hutchinson, Paul (19 May 2020). "Arise Captain Sir Thomas Moore - Bedfordshire fundraising hero awarded knighthood". Bedford Independent. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood". The Gazette (3565647). 27 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
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  4. ^ "Coronavirus: Veteran from Keighley raises over £2 MILLION for NHS". Stray FM News. 14 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  5. ^ Murray, Jessica (15 April 2020). "War veteran, 99, raises £6m for NHS by walking lengths of back garden". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
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  8. ^ "No. 35218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 July 1941. p. 4057.
  9. ^ "No. 35740". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 October 1942. p. 4432.
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  11. ^ The Quarterly Army List (August 1946 – Part I). London: HM Stationery Office. 1946. p. 385a.
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  46. ^ @theweeknd (23 April 2020). "everyone in the UK please support @captaintommoore / @mrmichaelball single so this incredible 99 yr old war veteran, walking for the British National Health Service @NHSuk & now raised $35 Million can have a No 1 for his 100th birthday in the UK! We're routing for you. XO!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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