Coronavirus: Captain Tom Moore to be knighted for NHS fundraising efforts, PM confirms
Captain Tom Moore is set to be knighted for his fundraising efforts
Captain Tom Moore is set to be knighted for his NHS fundraising efforts after receiving a special nomination from the Prime Minister.
The 100-year-old veteran is set to be given the honour after he raised over £33m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, Downing Street has said.
The former World War Two soldier had initially set out to raise £1,000 for the health service by walking 100 time around his garden before his centenary in a bid to thank NHS staff who had treated him for a broken hip.
But he ended up smashing fundraising records.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recommended him for the honour, which has already been approved by the Queen, saying he was a "true national treasure" and a "beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus".
Mr Johnson added: "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.
"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."
Responding to the news, Captain Tom said he was "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 announcement comes just weeks after he was made an honorary colonel to mark his fundraising efforts.
It means his official title under Ministry of Defence protocol will be Captain Sir Thomas Moore.
The pensioner has also released a charity single, You'll Never Walk Alone, which reached the top of the music charts, making him the oldest person in the UK to ever achieve a number one.
Labour leader Keir Starmer also congratulated Captain Tom, saying he 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."
A Government spokesperson said: "We know there is huge appetite to say thank you to all those supporting the nation during this emergency and doing incredible things day in, day out, up and down the country.
"We will ensure these unsung heroes are recognised in the right way, at the right time."