Arise, Sir Tom! Heroic Fundraiser Captain Moore Awarded a Knighthood
Few people can truly be said to have inspired the nation, but the remarkable, record-breaking centenarian Captain Tom Moore is undoubtedly one of them.
Just a couple of months ago, Captain Tom was planning to celebrate his 100th birthday quietly at home in Bedfordshire; now he’s a national treasure whose achievements as a fundraiser have captured the attention of the Queen, Prime Minister, media and public – and earned him a knighthood.
100 Laps of His Garden and Millions of Pounds for the NHS
The WWII veteran originally intended to complete 100 laps of his large garden, with the aid of his walking frame, by his birthday on 30 April. Eager to show his appreciation for the care he received after suffering cancer and a broken hip, Captain Tom hoped that his 100th birthday charity walk would raise £1,000 for the NHS.
Interest in his fundraising campaign quickly grew, and soon he was being interviewed by the international press. Donations poured in, including a contribution from the Queen’s grandson, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Spurred on by the campaign’s tremendous popularity, Captain Tom completed his 100th lap ahead of schedule, on 17 April, with British Army soldiers forming a guard of honour.
As Captain Tom turned 100, his campaign ended and he found himself being awarded the Guinness World Record for the most money ever raised by an individual charity walk. In a matter of weeks, over 1.5 million supporters had donated close to an astonishing £40 million (including Gift Aid). With the pandemic putting the NHS under enormous pressure, the timing couldn’t have been better.
In the words of his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, ‘He’s a beacon of hope in dark times’.
Promoted to Honorary Colonel
Captain Tom’s birthday celebration was as extraordinary as his charity walk. The event assumed international importance, with the BBC providing live updates online.
The philanthropic centenarian received a personalised card from the Queen, as well as praise for his ‘heroic efforts’ from Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a video message. What’s more, he enjoyed an RAF flypast featuring a wartime Hurricane and Spitfire.
Another gift came in the form of a new title: Captain Tom was made an honorary colonel. The head of the Army, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, called him ‘an inspirational role model’.
Loved by the Public and Knighted by the Queen
Captain Tom inspired an NHS midwife, Sonia Wilson, to organise a petition calling for him to be knighted, which attracted over 1 million signatures. ‘I know how much his fundraising and support means on the ground,’ she emphasised.
Following a personal recommendation from the Prime Minister, the Queen granted Captain Tom a knighthood in late May. That makes him the proud recipient of one of the country’s highest honours.
As his colonelship is honorary not formal, his official title is Captain Sir Thomas Moore.
In a statement about his knighthood, Captain Tom said he felt ‘absolutely overwhelmed’. He took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on NHS employees – ‘our frontline heroes…who put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe’.
Supporting Frontline NHS Staff
Due to social distancing measures, Captain Tom may have to wait several months to be formally knighted at an investiture ceremony. However doctors and nurses, as well as patients, are already benefitting from his fundraising efforts.
NHS Charities Together is using the money to distribute welfare packs, provide quarantined patients with iPads so they can contact loved ones, create rest areas for stressed staff, and much more.
The millions raised by Captain Tom are complemented by the Duke of Westminster’s own multi-million pound donation. These incredible sums of money will improve countless lives.
Launching the Captain Tom Foundation
Captain Tom hopes to help even more people through his newly formed foundation, which will focus on supporting hospices and dealing with loneliness and grief.
He fundraises within the confines of his garden, but his influence is felt far and wide.
Celebrate Someone Special to You with Elite Titles
Do you know someone who shares Captain Tom’s philanthropic spirit and has gone ‘above and beyond’ to make a difference to your life?
Treating that special person to a decorative elite title, such as Sir or Dame, is a marvellous way to show you care. Our non-seated title package enables your loved one to legally adopt an aristocratic-style title for show purposes. Why not treat yourself to one too?
While this isn’t the same as receiving a title from the Queen, it still has the potential to enhance an individual’s perceived social status, and is great fun.