A 99-year-old war veteran has raised almost £10 million (AUD $20 million) for the British healthcare system as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
In the lead-up to his 100th birthday, Captain Tom Moore, who uses a walker, set a challenger to complete 100 laps of his backyard with a goal of raising £1,000 (AUD $1,980) for the National Health Service (NHS).
He ended up completely smashing that goal after around 500,000 donated to Moore’s fundraiser when it received national media attention.
Moore told the BBC the response had been “completely out of this world”.
“Every penny that we get, they [the NHS] deserve every one of it,” he said.
9 MILLION POUND!
NHS – we love you! Let’s clap loud tomorrow night…👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻#walkwithtom #TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay
— Captain Sir Tom Moore (@captaintommoore) April 15, 2020
Moore lost some of his mobility after a hip injury two years back. It makes the 25-metre lap around his yard all the more challenging.
His son-in-law explained his admiration for the NHS stems partially from the high level of care he received when recovering from this injury.
While his initial goal was to complete 100 laps – one for each year of his life – his runaway success has inspired him to keep going to as long as possible.
“I shall continue up and down here after my birthday,” he told Reuters.
“I’ll keep on going whilst people are still contributing to the National Health Service.”
On Thursday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock made special mention of Moore and his efforts to raise money during the pandemic.
“I want to pay a special tribute today to Captain Tom Moore,” he said in a press conference.
“Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you.”