On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, Moore began to walk one hundred lengths of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, with the goal of raising £1,000 by his 100th birthday. In the 24-day course of his fundraising, he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the UK, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. In recognition of his efforts, he received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award at the 2020 ceremony. He performed in a cover version of the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" sung by Michael Ball, with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts, making him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one.
On the morning of Moore's hundredth birthday, the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million (worth almost £39 million with expected tax rebates). His birthday was marked in a number of ways, including flypasts by the Royal Air Force and the British Army. He received over 150,000 cards, and was appointed as honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College. On 17 July 2020, he was personally knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital where he was taken after being treated for pneumonia and then testing positive for COVID-19.
He was promoted to war-substantive lieutenant on 1 October 1942 and to temporary captain on 11 October 1944.
As part of the Fourteenth Army, the so-called "Forgotten Army", he served in Arakan in western Burma (now Myanmar) – where he survived dengue fever. Moore returned to the UK in February 1945, to take a training course on the inner workings of the Churchill tanks, learning to become an instructor. He did not return to the regiment, remaining as an instructor and the Technical Adjutant of the Armoured Vehicle Fighting School in Bovington Camp, Dorset, until he was demobilised in early 1946.[failed verification]
For 64 years, he organised the 8th Battalion's annual reunion, the longest continual annual reunion in the Duke of Wellington Regiment.
Career and hobbies
After leaving the army, he worked as a sales manager for a roofing materials company in Yorkshire, and later as managing director of a Fens-based company manufacturing concrete, called Concrete Products Ltd., which was renamed March Concrete Products Ltd. after he led a management buyout in 1983. The company was sold to ARC in 1987.
Moore raced motorcycles competitively – he purchased his first when he was 12 and wore the number 23. He rode a Scott motorcycle, winning several trophies. Moore was a member of the Keighley and District Photographic Association between 1934 and 1936, as his father had also been.
The initial £1,000 goal having been realised on 10 April, the target was increased, first to £5,000, and later to £500,000 as more people around the world became involved. Contributions rose quickly after British media publicised the endeavour, beginning when Moore made a brief appearance by telephone, on Michael Ball's Sunday programme on BBC Radio 2 on 12 April. Moore, who joined Twitter in the same month, used the site to express joy at the public's generosity in donating such a large amount of money.
On the morning of his birthday, he had raised £30 million. The JustGiving page for his campaign closed at the end of that day; the final amount raised subsequently being stated there as £32,796,475 (plus another £6,173,663.31 expected in tax rebates under the Gift Aid scheme) – a record for a JustGiving campaign, beating the previous record of £5.2 million raised (partially posthumously) by Stephen Sutton. More than 1.5 million individuals donated.
Funds raised by Moore are being spent on such things as well-being packs for National Health Service staff facilitating rest and recuperation rooms, devices to enable hospital patients to keep in contact with family members, and community groups who support patients once discharged from hospitals. Once his campaign ended, Moore encouraged people to continue to donate, directly to the NHS Charities Together's urgent appeal, and subsequently via his own Captain Tom Foundation.
On reaching £5 million, Moore explained his motivation:
When we started off with this exercise we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money. It's really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They're all so brave. Because every morning or every night they're putting themselves into harm's way, and I think you've got to give them full marks for that effort. We're a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they're all on the front line, and all of us behind, we've got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they're doing now.
Moore's bid to reach number 1 was boosted when his leading competitor, The Weeknd, who were the then-current act at number 1, used Twitter to ask people to support Moore and make him number 1 for his 100th birthday. The Weeknd's song, "Blinding Lights", duly dropped to number 2.
On 16 April, after Moore's 100th length, a UK Government spokesman said "the Prime Minister will certainly be looking at ways to recognise Tom's heroic efforts." Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, described Moore as "an absolute legend [from] an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today." Via video link, Moore was guest of honour at, and opened, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber, in Harrogate, on 21 April.
On 23 April, he was given a Pride of Britain award in recognition of his efforts, after "thousands of nominations" were received. He was appointed the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, Yorkshire, a training centre for soldiers under 18, on his 100th birthday. When acting in that capacity, he was addressed as "Colonel Tom". He also received the Yorkshire Regiment Medal for his "outstanding contribution to our military effectiveness and military reputation". He made his first visit to the college on 10 September, when he was Chief Inspecting Officer at their annual graduation parade.
Moore gave over 150 media interviews. On 6 May, BBC One changed its advertised schedule to screen a 30-minute BBC News Special, Captain Tom: We Salute You, presented by Michael Ball. During the programme, Ball visited Moore at his home, and at the end of the programme the pair duetted, a cappella, the first verse of their hit single. Another UK television channel, ITV, screened a 30-minute documentary, Captain Tom's War, on 8 May, in which Moore reminisced about his military career, followed by the hour-long The Life & Times of Captain Sir Tom on 13 August. He was the guest on an episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories on 13 September.
In November 2020, British GQ magazine named Moore its "Inspiration of the Year" as part of its Men of the Year edition. Moore also appeared on the front cover of the magazine, making him the oldest cover star in the magazine's history.
Guinness World Records
Moore held two Guinness World Records: as the fundraiser raising the greatest amount of money in an individual charity walk, and as the oldest person to have a number-one single on the UK charts.
Over a week before Moore's 100th birthday, so many cards had been sent to him that Royal Mail had had to introduce dedicated sorting facilities and around 20 volunteers were recruited to open and display them, at the local Bedford School. By his birthday, over 150,000 cards had been received.
Mock-up of Royal Mail's Captain Tom Moore postmark, as used 26 April–1 May 2020
Royal Mail announced that all stamped post between 26 April and 1 May would be postmarked "Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore NHS fundraising hero 30th April 2020". Royal Mail also celebrated his birthday by painting a postbox, near his home, the shade of blue used by the NHS, with a golden balloon and inscription on the side.
Hawker Hurricane LF363, one of the aircraft used in the RAF flypast (seen in 2011)
Keighley Bus Company named one of its Optare Versa buses Captain Tom Moore on 20 April, and reprogrammed the electronic displays to show a "Thank You Captain Tom" message intermittently in between the vehicle's route and destination. A plaque inside the bus gives further information of Moore's life and fundraising. Other buses in the town, and across parent company Transdev Blazefield, displayed an intermittent "Thank You NHS" message. Alex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev Blazefield, described the vehicle as the "pride of the fleet" in dedication to Moore, thanking him for his fundraising efforts. On 25 April, bus company Stagecoach East, which runs services in Bedford where Moore lived, named one of its Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC double-decker buses Captain Tom Moore.
According to Moore's autobiography, he was first married in 1949 to a woman he later referred to as "Billie". The couple divorced, and he later married Pamela, fifteen years his junior, in January 1968, and they had two daughters, Lucy and Hannah. When Moore was working at Cawood/March Concrete, the family lived in Welney in Norfolk.
Moore was admitted to Bedford Hospital on 12 January. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and treated. Ten days later he was discharged to his home in Marston Moretaine. Both before and during his stay in hospital, Moore was tested regularly for COVID-19. On the day of his discharge, 22 January, he first tested positive for COVID-19. He remained at home for the following nine days while receiving care and treatment. Having difficulty in breathing, Moore was re-admitted to Bedford Hospital on 31 January with COVID-19 and pneumonia. He died on 2 February, aged 100.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying "The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore. Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them".
On 4 February Barbados' Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, who had met with Moore during his visit to Barbados issued a statement of condolences, on behalf of herself and her nation, after learning of his death.
Trainee priest Jarel Robinson-Brown raised concerns, via Twitter, that the media fervour and nationalist rhetoric surrounding Tom Moore is a form of white supremacist rhetoric. He swiftly deleted his comment, however, and offered "an unreserved apology" and later deleted his Twitter account. In response to the tweet, his employers, the Diocese of London, ordered an investigation, saying his comments were "unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged". Almost 25,000 people signed an online petition calling on the church to remove Robinson-Brown from his post.
A mural was created, in honour of Moore, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire in April 2020. Moore was among a number of subjects for graffiti art created by Pontefract artist Rachel List. On 30 April 2020 a 12-foot (3.7 m) high mural, by newsagent and artist Paul Cable, on the wall of a popular restaurant in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, was unveiled as a tribute to Moore on his 100th birthday.
In September 2020, it was announced that a biopic of Moore's life was being produced by Fred Films and Powder Keg Pictures. Upon hearing the announcement, Moore commented: "I don’t know of any 100-year-old actors, but I’m sure Michael Caine or Anthony Hopkins could do a wonderful job if they were prepared to age up!". The film is being produced and written by Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard.