Captain Tom Moore, an influential Second World War veteran, has been appointed an honorary colonel to celebrate his 100th birthday on Thursday in appreciation of his contributions that have raised over £30 m for the NHS.
The appointment comes with a personal letter through Her Majesty, and ahead of next week’s VE Day celebrations, the current Colonel was also re-presented with his Second World War Defence medal.
The centenarian is to become the figurehead for the Harrogate Army Foundation Academy, which trains 16- and 17-year-olds, on a birthday to be celebrated with more than one hundred thousand birthday cards along with two special flypasts.
Two helicopters are expected to fly in the afternoon over Moore’s home in Bedfordshire, whilst the flight of a wartime Spitfire and a Hurricane will be shown to prevent huge large crowds attempting to travel and see.
The veteran said he turned 100, saying it was “quite extraordinary.” “It’s even more remarkable that I do this with so many well-wishers and I’m astonished at my walking response.”
Well-wishers have already sent him more than 125,000 cards, which will be kept in the secondary school of his grandson before the delivery.
The events enclose a heady period during which Moore first captured the imagination of the nation by raising millions by fulfilling a promise to walk the length of his 25 m garden 100 times ahead of his birthday to raise money for NHS charities.
The soldier originally set out to collect £1,000 but contributions greatly surpassed expectations, and in the middle of the month he finished his efforts, supported by guard of honour. He has raised £12 m at that stage, but on April 17 it has continued to rise and passed £20 m.
He went on to record with Michael Ball a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which went directly to No 1, making him the oldest artist in the UK to get a chart-topping record.
Yesterday, he said, ‘I feel very comfortable and have all I need. Covid-19 has left so many out, so donate to those in need please. Thank you for that. ‘