Captain Sir Tom Moore became a national hero. The news coverage of his fundraising truly resonated with its audience and brought hope to the nation when it was needed most. He is a great example of how change can be brought about through the power of a meaningful story. His efforts to fundraise prompted those to act with compassion by donating their hard-earned money and millions were raised as a result.
Often referred to as Captain Tom, we begin Sir Tom Moore’s story in WWII where his service earned him his title. He was enrolled in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (DWR) in May 1940 where he rose through the ranks to Captain and in 1941, was enlisted to India . He was demobilised in early 1946 and for the next 64 years, organised the DWR’s annual reunion . Due to his service he was already a hero, but 2020 is when he became the inspiration that we know today.
Captain Sir Tom came into the public eye in April 2020, when he pledged to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday to raise money for the NHS [2,3]. He soon became a well-known face on national television and the donations started rolling in. His initial aim of raising £1,000 was blown out the water, as million after million was raised . The press coverage gave exposure to Sir Tom and gave us someone to root for in trying times. In total, he managed to raise £32,794,701 for charities supporting the NHS, from more than one-and-a-half-million global donors before he closed his fundraising page on his 100th birthday .
After his 100th lap he then went on to release a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball, which went on to sell 82,000 copies with proceeds going to the NHS Charities Together fund . On the 24th of April, it went straight to number 1 in the weekly “Official” UK Singles Chart, knocking superstar The Weeknd off the top spot, and meaning that he was at number 1 on his 100th birthday . Because of this, Captain Sir Tom managed to achieve two Guinness World Records: one for raising the greatest amount of money in an individual charity walk, and another for being the oldest person to have a number-one single in the UK charts .
On the 17th of July 2020, Captain Sir Tom was knighted by the Queen for his efforts in raising such a substantial sum of money and for providing the country with “a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus”. [6,7]. Click the following link to watch him getting knighted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBIMV5NebrI.
In November 2020, British GQ magazine named him their “Inspiration of the Year” as part of its Men of the Year edition . His saying “tomorrow will be a good day” trended on social media and gave hope to a struggling country . Captain Sir Tom Moore was featured in the New Year’s Eve London light display, clearly a figurehead of positivity in the eventful year of 2020 . Throughout 2020, Sir Tom had continued news coverage and strong social media presence. This meant he could keep inspiring people even after he had completed his charity walk.
Not only did he raise millions himself for charity, but he also inspired many others to do the same. Change has spread through the ripple effect of Sir Tom’s story being shared ever since. He proved that age is not a barrier and inspired a 100-year-old man to walk 100 laps around his garden while fasting during Ramadan. A 104-year-old woman was also inspired to complete a marathon by walking laps round her home for charity [10,11]. As she finished, she exclaimed “Tom, I’ve done it!” .
He also set an example and became a role model for the younger generation. A 16-year-old who spent 4 months on a ventilator after a stroke was inspired to walk 100 laps on a treadmill to raise money for the purchase of more ventilators . A 9-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy and autism managed to complete a marathon in 70 days . A 6-year-old boy with spina bifida chose to walk 10m and aimed to raise £99, the age of the man who inspired him. Since, he has raised over £300,000 for NHS charities! . Another young boy who is non-verbal because of autism walked 100,000 steps. He was inspired by Captain Sir Tom and wrote down “He is a hero to us” .
Captain Sir Tom’s story spread internationally, inspiring a 101-year-old former Air Force Aviator in Canada to walk 101 laps around his retirement home for charity. Additionally, a 95-year-old Second World War veteran in Ghana walked two miles a day for a week for charity [15,16].
Tom’s extraordinary life ended on the 2nd of February 2021 . He was unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 due to medication he was taking to treat pneumonia and contracted the virus at the end of January 2021. His last year of life was “nothing short of remarkable”, said his daughters, who he spent his final hours sharing laughter and tears with . The NHS Twitter account issued a statement simply saying, “Thanks for everything, Sir Tom ♥” and the flags in Downing Street were lowered to half-mast to mark Captain Sir Tom’s passing .
Captain Sir Tom may be gone, but he will not be forgotten. His story will continue to be told to inspire generations to come that through the power of a positive mindset and with determination, barriers to achieve great things can be broken. In Sir Tom’s case this was an age barrier, but he stands for so much more than that. Sir Tom will live on as a beacon of hope for us all, and we thank him for his eternal service. May he rest in peace.
Ella White & Mia Georgiou
 Brown, F., 2021. The story behind the 99-year-old legend who raised £14m for the NHS. [online] Metro. Available at: <https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/16/tom-moore-story-behind-14000000-nhs-legend-12565964/> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. Capt Sir Tom Moore: How the retired Army officer became a nation’s hero. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52324058> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Captain Tom Moore raises nearly £33m as NHS appeal closes. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52498156> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Captain Tom tops the charts at the age of 99. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52415966> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 Guinness World Records. 2021. 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore smashes global fundraising record and tops UK charts. [online] Available at: <https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2020/4/99-year-old-captain-tom-moore-smashes-global-fundraising-record-and-tops-uk-chart-615786> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Capt Sir Tom Moore knighted in ‘unique’ ceremony. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-53442746> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Coronavirus: Captain Tom Moore awarded knighthood for NHS fundraising. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52732300> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 British GQ. 2020. Captain Sir Tom Moore: ‘Negative thoughts don’t seem to be part of me. I always think of the beneficial things’. [online] Available at: <https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/politics/article/captain-tom-interview> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. New Year’s Eve: UK sees in 2021 with fireworks and light show. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55504450> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. Coronavirus: Dabirul Choudhury, 100, raises £150k with Ramadan walk. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52757533> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Woman, 104, completes walking marathon for charity. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-berkshire-54817480> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 Wiltshire Times. 2020. Miranda plans 100 laps to raise £1m for the NHS. [online] Available at: <https://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/18385353.16-year-old-battling-walk-suffering-stroke-locked-syndrome/> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. Boy with cerebral palsy completes Captain Tom marathon feat. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-52869064?at_custom4=86B2838A-A35B-11EA-A22E-49DC39982C1E&at_medium=custom7&at_campaign=64&at_custom2=facebook_page&at_custom3=BBC+News&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Coronavirus: Bristol boy with spina bifida raises thousands for NHS. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-52354837> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 CBC. 2020. Inspired by British veteran’s fundraiser, B.C. 101-year-old starts his own walking campaign | CBC News. [online] Available at: <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/john-hillman-campaign-1.5555433> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2020. Queen to honour Ghana’s fundraising WW2 veteran Pte Joseph Hammond. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53107602> [Accessed 10 February 2021].
 BBC News. 2021. Captain Sir Tom Moore: ‘National inspiration’ dies with Covid-19. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-55881753> [Accessed 9 February 2021].
 the Guardian. 2021. Capt Sir Tom Moore dies at 100 after testing positive for Covid. [online] Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/feb/02/captain-sir-tom-moore-dies-at-100-after-testing-positive-for-covid> [Accessed 10 February 2021].