IT started like thousands of charity challenges that people launch almost every day in Britain.
World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99 — who had broken his hip in a nasty fall — wanted to raise a few quid to thank the NHS for their care.
Follow the latest tributes to Captain Tom Moore on our live blog…
Capt Sir Tom was knighted by the Queen last yearCredit: Getty Images – Getty
On April 5 last year, when he began to gingerly walk the first of 100 sponsored laps of his family home in Bedfordshire with the aid of a two wheeled walking frame, £1,000 seemed an impossible aim.
Captain Tom, who fought in a tank regiment against the Japanese in Burma, smashed his target within a few days.
By his 100th birthday he had walked 200 laps and collected £32,796,436 in donations — the largest sum raised by one person.
With Gift Aid added by many of the 1.5million people who gave money to his Just Giving page, the final total was £38.9million for NHS charities.
Captain Tom described it as a “fairy tale”.
But it wasn’t just about the money — there was something remarkable about Captain Tom that inspired a Britain in turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This twice-wed grandad from Yorkshire was the man we were looking for in our hour of need.
When he ended each of more than 700 media interviews declaring: “Tomorrow will be a good day” we believed him.
Captain Sir Tom Moore during a visit to the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire as part of his role as Honorary ColonelCredit: PA:Press Association
Captain Tom Moore has died at the age of 100Credit: Dan Charity – The Sun
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore told The Sun: “It was about the love and total integrity of his message. He gave people hope.”
Like almost all charity fund- raisers, Hannah sent out a press release to the local media and the story was picked up by national TV in Easter week.
When Tom appeared via video link speaking to BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty he became an instant star.
Captain Tom said later: “She thanked me for bringing ‘so much joy and positivity’ to the nation and wanted to know my thoughts on the pandemic.
“All those interviewing me seemed to assume that I was possessed with some sort of 100-year-old wisdom simply because I’d lived so long, which doesn’t necessarily follow to my way of thinking, but I did my best.
“When asked if I had any advice for those in lockdown, I said people should remember ‘Tomorrow will be a good day. Tomorrow you will maybe find everything will be much better than today, even if today was all right.”
A new hashtag #TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay trended on social media sparking a frenzy around the world and by April 13 more than £120,000 had been raised.
Piers Morgan donated £10,000 when Tom appeared on Good Morning Britain and told viewers: “You’re all being so kind to give so much money to the NHS.”
Captain Tom became a media star. Fortified by a bowl of his special porridge made with condensed milk he would walk up and down the drive every morning as the money poured in.
Captain Tom Moore only set out to raise £1,000 for the NHSCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
Captain Tom raised £33m by completing 100 laps of his gardenCredit: Dan Charity – The Sun
A picture of Captain Tom while he was serving in the ArmyCredit: Reuters
The hip he broke in a fall while loading a washing machine gave him pain for every step.
By April 16 — just 11 days after starting his challenge — he completed 100 laps — with a guard of honour of soldiers from his old regiment, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment saluting. Michael Ball interviewed Tom over video for his Radio 2 show and decided to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Tom recalled: “I couldn’t help but join in a bit — which everyone seemed to love and Michael joked: ‘It’s a duet in the making!’”
The radio duet sent Tom’s Just Giving page crashing as the total hit £12million — setting a new Guinness world record for fundraising which he kept on smashing.
When Tom and Michael released the song as a charity single it hit No 1, making him the oldest singer to top the charts.
A day before his 100th birthday, Captain Tom was promoted to Honorary Colonel of his old regiment and his missing World War Two medal was replaced.
Captain Tom on his 100th birthday last yearCredit: AP:Associated Press
Birthday messages for Captain Tom moore were displayed on the advertising boards in Piccadilly CircusCredit: AFP or licensors
Tom captured the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the NHSCredit: PA:Press Association
On April 30, wrapped in a blanket, he celebrated his big day as a Battle of Britain Spitfire and Hurricane flew over the house in tribute.
A quarter of a million birthday cards from well-wishers were displayed at a local school. That day Tom closed his appeal but his amazing adventure was not over.
Boris Johnson spoke to him on the phone on several occasions. The first time he had to call back as Tom was busy with interviews.
In May, the PM announced Captain Tom was to be knighted for his achievement.
In July, the Queen, who had cancelled all investitures, personally knighted him at Windsor Castle. He then signed a three book deal and negotiated a film contract to donate money to his legacy, The Captain Tom Foundation.
He wanted to aid charities that dealt with loneliness and the Royal British Legion, which he supported during The Sun’s Poppy Appeal.
When I visited him with Sun royal photographer Arthur Edwards to take photos to launch the appeal he told 80-year-old Arthur: “You’ve got plenty of years left, lad!”
The hero became a shining light in the darkest days of the pandemicCredit: PA:Press Association
Captain Tom had been battling CovidCredit: PA:Press Association
Birthday cards sent to Captain Tom filled out Bedford HallCredit: PA:Press Association
Captain Tom with his wife Pamela
I have interviewed hundreds of World War Two veterans but had never met anyone like Tom. Children loved him too as their flood of “get well” cards had shown.
Captain Tom was convinced he would live until 103 — and had put a bet on it. Sadly he did not collect his winnings but the millions who got to know him over the past ten months were the winners.
Thank you, Tom. We will do our darndest to make sure tomorrow is a better day.
Lifetime in just one year
IN less than a year, Captain Sir Thomas Moore went from being a war hero to a national treasure, raising tens of millions of pounds for struggling NHS charities.
Here are some of the highlights of his journey — which won him the hearts of the nation:
April 6, 2020: Tom vows to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the end of the month — hoping to raise £1,000 for the NHS.
April 14: Smashes his initial target, with £1million donated by mid-morning — rising to £2million just hours later.
April 15: More than £7million is donated by over 340,000 supporters as celebs praise his heroic efforts.
April 16: Completes his 100 laps, raising more than £12million for NHS Charities Together, but vows to keep going if people are donating. Receives support from the Prime Minister and Royal Family for his fund-raising achievement.
April 24: Captain Tom becomes the oldest person ever to get to No1 in the UK singles charts with his duet of You’ll Never Walk Alone with actor Michael Ball.
April 30: Sir Tom turns 100, marked with an RAF fly-past, greetings from the Queen and Boris Johnson as well as being made an honorary Army colonel. His fundraising page reaches over £32million and he gets over 120,000 birthday cards from around the world.
July 17: Knighted in the grounds of Windsor Castle in the Queen’s first official engagement in person since the lockdown in March. Signs a deal to film a biopic of his incredible life.
October 5: Captain Tom becomes one of the country’s oldest podcasters with the launch of a series to tackle loneliness and isolation among older people.
December 11: Fulfils a lifelong dream of travelling to Barbados — and returns Covid negative on January 6.
January 22: His family reveals that he has tested positive for Covid after returning home from hospital where he had been first diagnosed with pneumonia.
January 31: Admitted to hospital a second time after suffering breathing difficulties.
February 2: His family announce he died in hospital surrounded by loved ones.