Beds, Herts & Bucks

Captain Tom Moore's birthday cards opened by volunteers

Cards for Captain Tom Moore Image copyright Bedford School
Image caption The school was asked to display and open the cards on Saturday by Captain Tom Moore's family

Volunteers have been brought in to open and display thousands of cards sent to war veteran Captain Tom Moore.

More than 65,000 cards have been sent so far and are being put on show at Bedford School, where his grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, attends.

Capt Tom, 99, raised more than £28m for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

A production line of about 20 volunteers are opening them ahead of his birthday on 30 April.

Image copyright Bedford School
Image caption Volunteers are working shifts to deal with the high volume of cards
Image copyright Bedford School
Image caption 15,000 cards were sent to the independent school on Wednesday

The independent boys school is currently sending two mini-buses a day to collect the cards that are being sent to Marston Moretaine post office.

That is after they have been sorted at a Northampton mail centre, where a machine has been re-programmed to deal with the high volumes.

Hugh Maltby, director of the Bedford School Association, who knows the family personally, said he contacted them to see what help it needed and was asked to deal with the cards.

"Little did I know what I was letting myself in for," he said.

"We have got to work quite quickly as we have so many to get through."

All workers are adhering closely to the social distancing rules he added.

Image copyright Bedford School
Image caption Benjie Ingram-Moore is reading many of the cards to make sure his grandfather is aware of what people have written

His 16-year-old grandson said: "I think a lot of the cards are so heartfelt and it really shows the effort that people have put in, I think he will really appreciate that.

"I am going to try and take a picture of as many as I can and show them to him, as he will happily sit through and read them all."

The school said at the moment there is enough space to open the cards in the hall, which can seat 800 people, but if too many come in they might have to relocate to some classrooms.

Image copyright Bedford School
Image caption It is "all hands on deck" to get the cards opened the school said
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Capt Tom finished his 100th lap on 17 April

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