Need a good news story? A World War II veteran in the United Kingdom has raised more than £27.2 million or almost $34 million dollars by doing something rather simple, walking around his garden with his walker.
It all started when Captain Thomas Moore, 99, broke his hip. As part of his rehabilitation process, he decided on April 6 to make 100 laps around his garden, which is about 25 meters (82 feet), by his 100th birthday on April 30. He thought that by doing this he could raise about £1,000 for the National Health Service (NHS) Charities Together in order to help support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in honor of the nurses that helped him recover. This charity, in particular, focuses on the staff and volunteers that are caring for COVID-19 patients.
“After I broke my hip, I had some marvelous service from all the staff,” Capt. Moore said to BBC Breakfast. “The patience and the kindness that I got from all of them, top to bottom was absolutely amazing. So, anybody who is helping with me and the National Health Service, I’d be very pleased because they’ve done so well for me and they’re doing so well for everybody else at the moment that I think we must say ‘well done National Health Service.’”
Born in 1920, the WWII vet (who now has his own Wikipedia page) trained as an engineer before he enlisted in the Army, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He served in the India and Burma (Myanmar) campaigns, which was a complex operation requiring soldiers to fight in difficult terrain in an unforgiving jungle landscape.
He has now traded the jungles of Asia for the quiet of the English countryside. From royalty to schoolchildren, encouraged and invigorated by Capt. Moore’s daily walks during this time of crisis.
Capt. Moore and West End (U.K.’s version of Broadway) star Michael Ball have collaborated on a version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Ball got the idea after seeing Capt. Moore speaking the song’s lyrics while in an interview with the BBC. The song eventually reached #1 on iTunes in the U.K.
There is an ongoing petition arguing that Capt. Moore should be knighted, and about 870,000 have already signed. When told about the petition, Capt. Moore quipped, “Sir Thomas Moore—that sounds good, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.” Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, said in an interview about the Captain’s efforts, “I think he’s a one-man fundraising machine and God knows what the final total will be but good on him. I hope he keeps going.” The Duke has also personally contributed to his campaign.
For his final lap around his garden, the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, which is part of Capt. Moore’s original regiment, decided to stand as an honor guard watching over the soon-to-be centenarian. Of course, the soldiers kept to the six-feet social distancing policy.
In recognition of Capt. Moore’s birthday, a Spitfire “fly-past” has been scheduled, despite the 100-year-old’s reservations. His image is also now on the side of a bus in his hometown, and one young girl decided to create a birthday card campaign for Capt. Moore.
The money that Capt. Moore has raised will be used to help support the mentally and physically exhausted hospital staff members. This includes sleep pods, reclining chairs and safe spaces where staff members can be comforted after an especially traumatic day, like losing a patient. The medical staff will also receive care packages and the money will enable the purchase of iPads so the patients can communicate with friends and family members while in isolation.
Captain Moore currently lives with one of his daughters and two of his grandchildren in Bedfordshire, England. His wife died in 2006.
“It’s unbelievable that people would be so kind to give that sort of money to the National Health Service,” Capt. Moore said.
The story of Capt. Moore goes to show that even the smallest actions can make a huge difference. Capt. Moore inspired his country, but people all over the world as well to help support the incredible work that nurses, doctors and other medical professionals are doing every day to help keep us safe and contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo from YouTube