Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coronavirus: Army veteran, 99, 'smashes' £500k NHS target

Tom Moore Image copyright Hannah Ingram-Moore
Image caption Tom Moore is aiming to walk 100 laps of 25m around his garden

A 99-year-old army veteran who has joined the fundraising fight against Covid-19 has "smashed" his £500,000 target.

Tom Moore aims to complete 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden by Thursday, walking with the aid of a frame.

He originally hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together, to thank "magnificent" staff after recent treatment for a broken hip and cancer.

He said: "I thank the British public from the bottom of my heart."

"Who would have thought that when I set a target of £1,000 a week ago, it could have reached £500,000?" he added.

More than 24,000 people have contributed funds; he has appeared on TV; and singer and actor Jason Donovan has tweeted him birthday wishes.

Image copyright @captaintommoore
Image caption Mr Moore served in India and Burma during World War Two

Mr Moore has completed 70 laps of the 25-metre (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, and is taking them on in 10-lap chunks.

However, with the hot weather over the weekend, he decided to do 10 laps over two days to pace himself.

He is still ahead of schedule and hopes to complete the 2.5km (1.6 miles) distance by Thursday, instead of his initial target of his 100th birthday on 30 April.

Mr Moore was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the army for World War Two, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma.

Image copyright @captaintommoore
Image caption Mr Moore said he can achieve his target if he goes "slow and steady"

Mr Moore's daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, said when she told him he had reached £500,000 "there was stunned silence".

"We are completely floored by the amount of support flooding in - it's just incredible and he is smashing his target," she said.

"We say he needs a rest but he says that so long as he is slow and steady, he will reach it."

A 100th birthday party with 100 guests has had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions.

But when a 1940s-style singer booked to attend serenaded him online, he was able to join in.

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