Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £29m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, has been made an honorary colonel by the Queen on his 100th birthday.
THE Second War World veteran will mark the occasion with thousands of birthday cards, including one from the Queen, the gifts that were sent to him will be given to coronavirus patients and their families by his own wishes.
An estimated 140,000 cards have been received and are on show at Bedford School, where his grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, is a pupil. Tom said it was “extraordinary” to be turning 100, especially with “this many well-wishers.”
Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff, called Capt Tom “an inspirational role model.” “Colonel” Tom is due to spend the majority of the day self-isolating with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her family at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire. He said he would also speak to other family members via the internet.
As well as receiving a personalised card from the Queen, Capt Tom will be made an honorary England cricketer by former captain Michael Vaughan.
Capt Tom is to be informed of his promotion to honorary colonel in a letter presented by Lt Col Thomas Miller, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
The Army said, Sir Mark, who made the appointment, said Capt Tom’s “mature wisdom, no-nonsense attitude and humour in adversity make him an inspirational role model to generations young and old.”
Capt Tom will also celebrate his birthday as a chart-topper. His cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone took the top spot last week, making him the oldest person ever to score a number one single in the UK. His partner on the song, Michael Ball, will sing happy birthday to him late on in the morning.
The Royal Mail is also set to unveil a special postbox in Capt Tom’s honour. Painted “NHS blue” and featuring a golden balloon and birthday greeting, it will be located in Bedford Road, close to where he lives. Capt Tom has also been honoured by having two trains named after him. The Great Western Railway intercity express train 800025 goes into service on Thursday.
RAF pilots based at Coningsby in Lincolnshire are expected to soar past the veteran’s home for the incredible display including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters.
An MOD spokesman said: “Weather permitting, aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will complete a flypast to celebrate Captain Tom’s birthday and mark his amazing fundraising achievement.”