The Second World War veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who on his 100th birthday, raised just under £33 million for the NHS during the first lockdown in April, has passed away from COVID-19 related complications in hospital on the 2nd February 2021.
This was a man who had been around the world and fought the great evils of modern history, yet it was his philanthropy and fundraising ability which led him to receive world-wide recognition.
His military career began with the onset of World War II. He was conscripted into the Duke of Wellington Regiment which was an armoured corps of the British Army. He was selected in 1940 to go to Officer Candidate Training where he was trained and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and subsequently was deployed to India. He was a major component of a tank crew and helped train new recruits. He also trained new motorcyclists in how to ride through enemy lines as this was often the mode of transporting messages to and from the front when the technology at the time was not as reliable as today.
He spent the majority of the war in the Asian Theatre of war combatting the Imperial Japanese. He played a major role in the campaign in Burma (Myanmar), ridding the Emperor’s forces from the land. During the war he rose through the ranks reaching the level of Captain. In February 1945, he was sent back home to the UK to be trained on the intrinsic details of tanks and bring this knowledge back to his unit so they could repair and mobilise the machinery faster and more efficiently. However, he never returned to the battlefield and remained in the UK until 1946 when he was officially honourably discharged from the armed forces.
He began his civilian life by endeavouring to take on the business world. He began his entrepreneurship by working for a roofing company, but he eventually took the leap forward into founding his own concrete manufacturing firm. He remained the managing director of this company for many years until he eventually retired.
In 2018, he was diagnosed from skin cancer but fully recovered. He was amazed at the fantastic work done and the comfort he received from the NHS staff while he was undergoing treatment. He decided to mark the occasion of becoming a centenarian with doing a fundraiser for the NHS. He set about doing 100 laps of his back garden with nothing but his walker to aide him. His initial goal was £1,000 and his family believed this would be a difficult amount to get to. However, the story grew exponentially.
It began getting traction on social media and by the end of his walk it was famous worldwide. It was shared by millions across the world. The more it spread, the more money kept coming in and by the end, it had reached a sum just shy of the £33 million mark.
Following this outstanding achievement, Capt. Tom began receiving recognition for his tremendous undertaking. A series of commendations came swarming in. He was promoted to Honorary Colonel of the British Army; he released a version of the song “You’ll Never Walk alone” with Michael Ball and the NHS choir which reached No.1 in the UK Singles List making him the oldest individual to ever have a No.1 hit single; he was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his fundraising; and he released an autobiography titled “Tomorrow will be a good day” which became the slogan for the walk.
Capt. Tom became a beacon of hope during the pandemic and was an icon for those who were suffering because of it. He was a hero to millions and an inspiration to more. He had led a full life, experiencing the world at its worst, and leading it to show it at its best. Because of his immediate actions, tomorrow truly will be a better day for the men and women of the NHS and the patients they are working day and night to save.