Captain Tom sent thousands of 100th birthday cards

By Craig Lewis
BBC News Online

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media captionCaptain Tom: Royal Mail inundated with birthday cards

A war veteran who raised millions for the NHS has been sent more than 25,000 birthday cards.

Captain Tom Moore, 99, raised more than £27m by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

The South Midlands Mail Centre has dealt with 25,000 cards, but that number could rise ahead of Capt Tom's birthday on 30 April.

Centre manager Stephen James said: "None of the team have ever known one person receive so much mail."

With the aid of a walking frame, Capt Tom completed 100 laps of the 25m (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, in 10-lap sessions.

The Northampton-based mail centre, which deals with his post, has adapted equipment to deal with the number of cards.

Staff have re-programmed sorting machines to re-route his mail into a dedicated collection box.

At peak speed, the machines can process 40,000 pieces of mail an hour.

image copyrightGareth Eales
image captionThousands of birthday cards have been arriving at the mail centre in Northampton

Gareth Eales, area representative for the Communications Workers Union, said workers expected to deal with hundreds of thousands of cards over the coming days.

Mr Eales said Capt Tom "has been an inspiration to us all".

"This is a time for heroes, which Captain Tom and all key workers certainly are," he said.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionCapt Tom Moore with grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia

Royal Mail will be using a special postmark wishing Capt Tom a happy 100th birthday.

It will appear on all stamped mail across the UK starting next week.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionSoldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment formed a Guard of Honour for the final laps

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

Tributes and messages of congratulations have poured in from politicians, celebrities and NHS workers, while a petition has been set up for him to receive a knighthood.

He said the amount raised was "an absolutely fantastic sum of money".

He has since launched a released a cover version of You'll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir.

His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore has called him "a beacon of hope in dark times".

The veteran said plans for his 100th birthday party had been affected by the pandemic, but that the national outpouring of love and support for him was "a party enough for me".

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