LOVED AND LOST: CAPTAIN TOM MOORE (1920 – 2021)

Arthur Greene

After fighting for Britain in World War 2, Captain Tom Moore became the country’s beacon of light during the pandemic.

Captain Tom, as he affectionately came to be known in Britain, inspired the world by raising millions for health workers fighting Covid.

In the end, he helped raise R673-million – after starting off by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

He passed away on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

Britain went into lockdown last March at exactly the same time as South Africa, but it was already one of the worst affected countries.

It was two weeks into lockdown, and morale was hopelessly low, when Captain Tom, aged 99, first entered the public eye.

The second world war veteran wanted to raise funds for the government-funded National Health Service (NHS), which was quickly becoming overwhelmed by the virus.

So he pledged to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

He gave a modest TV interview on the national broadcaster’s Breakfast Show. At this point, he had raised just over R180,000, smashing his R20,000 target.

He was asked if he had any words to reassure the nation, to which he responded: “Remember, tomorrow is a good day, tomorrow you will maybe find everything will be much better than today.”

Tom’s words inspired the country, and the donations poured in.

He raised over R244-million by the time he finished the 100th lap.

Two weeks later, he released a rendition of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with singer Michael Ball and The NHS Voices of Care Choir.

Proceeds of the song went to the NHS, taking the total of Tom’s fundraising to R673-million, from donations from 163 countries.

The song debuted at number one in the UK charts, making Captain Tom the oldest artist ever to reach the top spot.

Moore was admitted to hospital on Sunday after having been treated for pneumonia for some time and testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

In a statement, his daughters, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, said: “The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of.The care our father received from the NHS and carers over the last few weeks and years of his life has been extraordinary.”

On Wednesday night, millions of people across Britain honoured Captain Tom by clapping outside their front doors – a tradition started last year for healthcare workers battling the virus on the frontline.

Video source: @HHFTnhs

Image source: @vaporsofficial