Today we pay tribute to a national hero who emerged during the coronavirus pandemic and shone a bright beacon of hope for all of us – Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Sadly, ‘Captain Tom’ passed away yesterday, surrounded by his loving family, after being treated for pneumonia and then contracting Covid-19. Yet rather than mourn his passing, his family want everyone to celebrate his remarkable life, which saw him catapulted to international fame as he approached his 100th year.
In a story now known across the world, Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on April 30th last year. It was his personal thank you for the care he had received, and his way to back the NHS during the biggest challenge in its 70-year history.
When the story featured on the national news it caught the public imagination and the fundraising total skyrocketed, reaching almost £33 million when the online fundraising campaign was closed on Captain Tom’s 100th birthday. He received more than 150,000 birthday cards and was given a birthday flypast by a wartime Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Captain Tom’s incredible fundraising effort saw him appointed an honorary colonel by his former regiment, win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, be awarded two honorary doctorate degrees and receive countless other accolades. In the biggest honour of all, he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in a special ceremony in July, becoming Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Born and raised in Keighley, West Yorkshire – just a stone’s throw from Acorn Stairlifts’ head offices and factory – Captain Tom lived a remarkable life, serving throughout the War in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (now part of The Yorkshire Regiment) and going on to organise its annual reunion for 64 years.
It was, perhaps, because he had lived through those dark wartime years, that his bulldog spirit and eternal optimism inspired us all. When he assured us “things will get better, we’ll be alright”, we didn’t doubt him.
Tributes to Captain Sir Tom have been flooding in, including from the Queen and the Prime Minister. Today we at Acorn Stairlifts join all those paying their respects to this truly remarkable national hero.
Captain Sir Tom Moore, we salute you.