Captain Tom Moore, who was last month given an honorary colonelship after raising over £30 million for the NHS, will receive a knighthood for his work, Number 10 confirms.
Tom, 100, wanted to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together during the COVID-19 pandemic. He began walking around his garden, aiming to complete 100 laps, on 6th April at the age of 99.
The organisation provides food parcels and counselling sessions for NHS staff who are tackling the coronavirus outbreak, as well as electronic tablets to allow patients to talk with their loved ones.
Now, weeks later, he has passed the £32 million mark, with the figure still climbing.
The Second World War veteran wanted to raise the money “for the sake of the nurses and the NHS we have, because they are doing such a magnificent job”.
He received his birthday card from The Queen on his special birthday.
— BBC Studios Events (@BBCStudiosLive) May 8, 2020
Commenting on the honour of a knighthood, Colonel Tom said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed. Never for one moment could I have imagined to be awarded with such a great honour.
“I’d like to thank Her Majesty The Queen, the prime minister and the Great British public. I will remain at your service.
“This started as something small and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond.
“We must take this opportunity to recognise our frontline heroes of the National Health Service who put their lives at risk everyday to keep us safe.”
The Birthday Honours list is usually published in June, for The Queen’s official birthday, which is marked by Trooping the Colour; however, the pandemic has cancelled the event.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recommended the award, which The Queen has approved. The PM called Captain Moore a “true national treasure” who “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus”.
Mr Johnson said: “Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.
'Look on the bright side and things will get better always.'
After raising over £30 million for the NHS, @captaintommoore is releasing his autobiography which he hopes will encourage people to be positive.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) May 14, 2020
“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He’s a true national treasure.”
Labour opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer congratulated Tom, who said the centenarian had brought “inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS”.
He added: “In his actions, Tom embodied the national solidarity which has grown throughout this crisis, and showed us that everyone can play their part in helping build a better future.”
An online petition that called for Captain Tom to be knighted received more than one million signatures, while a charity single that the veteran took part in with singer Michael Ball, reached number one in the charts.
The success of their version of You’ll Never Walk Alone made him the oldest artist ever to have a UK number one single!
Tens of thousands of people also sent the veteran birthday cards to mark his 100 years, and he was honoured with a Battle of Britain flypast from the RAF.