Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coronavirus: Captain Tom Moore passes £23m in NHS fundraising

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Media captionWatch as Capt Tom Moore completes his 100th lap

A 99-year-old war veteran has been left "speechless" after raising more than £23m for the NHS.

Capt Tom Moore originally aimed to raise just £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

The Duke of Cambridge hailed him as a "one-man fundraising machine".

His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said: "There are no words left to say. We cannot believe people's generosity and he's just floored by it."

'A-list celebrity'

Ms Ingram-Moore continued: "We're all speechless. It's not even two weeks since this started. We're just working our socks off supporting him and this phenomenon.

"Yesterday we did 35 interviews and another 17 today but the Yorkshireman takes it all in his stride.

"He's become an A-list celebrity. I'm just the sidekick."

More than a million people have now made donations to his JustGiving page.

And more than half a million people have called for Capt Tom to be knighted in a petition to the Honours Committee.

The petition, which was set up earlier this week, has received more than 680,000 signatures after his efforts grabbed the nation's attention.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is looking at ways to recognise his "heroic efforts".

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Media captionThe story of Captain Tom, the 99-year-old who raised more than £20m for the NHS

As he finished the challenge on Thursday, having raised about £14m, Capt Tom said it was "an absolutely fantastic sum of money".

In a tweet, he said he would be doing "less walking" on Friday but would be talking to TV channels in the United States, Argentina, Europe and the Middle East.

Speaking to BBC Radio 2 he said the sum of money was "absolutely enormous" and "very difficult to imagine". He also thanked everyone who had donated for their support.

"I say thank you very much indeed. I appreciate it because the object for which we're donating is so important and so necessary... I think you're all so kind and thoughtful contributing to this cause," he said.

The total includes an undisclosed donation from the Duke of Cambridge, who, with the Duchess of Cambridge, recorded a special video message for the veteran.

Image copyright @captaintommoore
Image caption Capt Tom served in India and Myanmar during World War Two

Prince William said: "It's amazing and what I love also is that he's a 99-year-old war vet.

"He's been around a long time, he knows everything and it's wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination.

"He's a one-man fundraising machine and God knows what the final total will be. But good on him, and I hope it keeps going."

In response, Capt Tom said: "It's absolutely amazing that my super prince can say something like that."

He also said it was "a moment we will never forget".

Capt Tom, who is originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, has seemingly risen from nowhere to the status of near national treasure.

Keighley Town Council has tweeted that it will "honour the fundraising hero" with the freedom of the town.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Capt Tom with grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia

Capt Tom began raising funds to thank NHS staff who helped him with treatment for cancer and a broken hip.

With the aid of a walking frame, he completed 100 laps of the 25-metre (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, in 10-lap chunks well before his birthday on 30 April.

NHS Charities Together said it was "truly inspired and humbled" by his efforts.

Image copyright PA Media/Frances Haycock/MOD/Crown Copyright
Image caption Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment formed a Guard of Honour for the final laps

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