A veteran who has captured the hearts of the nation by fundraising for the NHS today turns 100. Captain Tom Moore received his birthday card from The Queen and has also been given an honorary Colonelship as a promotion. To top it all off, today, Moore received an RAF flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
You can see a video at the end of the article.
Capt Tom, who was recently treated for a broken hip and skin cancer by the National Health Service, initially aimed to rise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, wanting to do so by his 100th birthday. He began walking around his garden, aiming to complete 100 laps, on 6th April at the age of 99.
Tom wanted to raise the money “for the sake of the nurses and the NHS we have, because they are doing such a magnificent job”.
Capt Moore tweeted: “Just received a rather special birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen.”
— Captain Tom Moore (@captaintommoore) April 30, 2020
A card with a yellow ribbon, and image of The Queen in pink was sent to Capt Moore.
“I am so pleased to know that you are celebrating your one hundredth birthday,” the message from The Queen read. “I was also most interested to hear of your recent fundraising efforts for NHS Charities Together at this difficult time.
“I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion. Elizabeth R.”
The campaign has since hit £31 million for the charity.
The Queen sends cards to people across her 16 nations, where she is Head of State, on their 100th birthday; they also receive a card on their 105th birthday and every year after that.
Born in 1920, Moore served in the Second World War, fighting in western Burma. After returning home, he was an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset.
The Queen’s representative, Lord-Lieutenant Helen Nellis, delivered Her Majesty’s birthday card to Captain Tom Moore at his home in Bedfordshire.
Ms Nellis also told Capt Moore that a section of the Forest of Marston Vale, part of a local forest forming part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, will be named after him. It will be called Captain Tom Moore’s spinney.
The Prime Minister also sent a video message to the veteran, praising his work.
Capt Tom was informed of his promotion to honorary colonel by letter from Chief of the General Staff in the Army, Sir Mark Carleton-Smith. It was presented to the veteran by Lt Col Thomas Miller, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, at his home.
🎉@captaintommoore has been appointed as the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College Harrogate. Happy birthday Colonel Tom!
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 30, 2020
His new position is Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College Harrogate. Capt Moore was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in 1920.
Sir Mark said Capt Tom’s “mature wisdom, no-nonsense attitude and humour in adversity make him an inspirational role model to generations”.
Tom said he was “very moved” by the honour because to get that honorary rank in his regiment is “something we would never, ever anticipate”.
“Although I can’t use it in public it really is something special to be able to say honorary colonel,” he said. “I’m still Captain Tom, that’s who I really am but if people choose to call me colonel, well, thank you very much!”
After a spitfire flypast was denied by the Department of Transport, but the Ministry of Defence today used part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to give the veteran a flypast.
A Hawker Hurricane and a Spitfire flew past Tom’s house this morning.
Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar had organised a flypast involving a Mark IX Spitfire for Capt Tom’s birthday, but on Monday it said it had been denied permission. Instead, its aircraft will fly on a circuit around Biggin Hill Airfield, near Croydon, to coincide with the weekly Clap for Carers event.
Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said that it was always the plan for an RAF flypast, wanting it to be surprise.
On 23 April, Captain Moore was given the first Pride of Britain award of 2020, in recognition of his efforts, after “thousands of nominations” were received.
He has also received more than 140,000 birthday cards from well-wishers, while Royal Mail announced that all stamped post between 26 April and 1 May will be postmarked “Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore NHS fundraising hero 30th April 2020”.