The millions of pounds raised by Captain Sir Tom Moore have reached the length and breadth of the UK – and his legacy will be felt for years, according to the national charity caring for the NHS.
The Second World War veteran – hailed as a “one-off” – raised £33 million after vowing to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April 2020.
The cash went to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 appeal, with funds providing bereavement support and helping isolated patients in hospital stay connected to family and friends through technology.
The charity has also been able to support the emotional and practical needs of staff, through counselling programmes and helplines, so that they can focus on their work at a time of immense pressure.
The Covid-19 appeal raised £150 million thanks to the support from Sir Tom and others, and more than £110 million has already been made available to the 241 member charities to help patients, staff and volunteers on the ground.
Ellie Orton, chief executive for NHS Charities Together, said it was a privilege to be associated with Sir Tom whose fundraising made a “huge difference”.
She said: “Captain Sir Tom Moore was a complete inspiration to us all and he did more than anyone to raise vital funds to support NHS patients, staff and volunteers during this crisis, when help was most needed.
“We owe him so much and we are devastated at today’s news. Our hearts go out to his family.
“Thanks to his amazing efforts, funds have reached the length and breadth of the UK through every one of our 241 member charities, and they have made a huge difference on the ground, both to address the immediate needs of patients and staff and to support the longer-term recovery of the NHS.
Everyone at NHS Charities Together is devastated by the news Captain Sir Tom Moore has passed away. He directly raised Â£33million for NHS charities and we owe him so much. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. Read our tribute here: https://t.co/rXHGKRnha6 #CaptainTom 💙 pic.twitter.com/iG7pZx8hoT— NHS Charities Together (@NHSCharities) February 2, 2021
“Captain Sir Tom inspired so many people to take on their own extraordinary challenges, from running marathons to swimming lakes, and he gave us all hope.
“He showed NHS patients and staff who were struggling that people cared, that they were looking out for them and doing what they could to support them.
“Captain Sir Tom was a one-off and he leaves the world a better place. It has been a complete privilege to be associated with him.
“His legacy will be felt for years to come by all of our NHS charities and the patients, staff and volunteers we support.
“When the time is right, we will put together a suitable tribute to Captain Sir Tom, in honour of everything he did for NHS charities.
“Thank you, Captain Sir Tom. We will miss you and we won’t ever forget you. Our thoughts are with your family and friends.”
NHS Charities Together said it has been working with members to support staff, volunteers and patients who are being disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis, such as patients and staff from BAME communities and high-risk groups like those living with disabilities.
Funds are also being used to help the NHS in the future, to aid its recovery from the long-term impact of Covid-19 once the immediate crisis has abated.
NHS Charities Together is the umbrella organisation that brings together all the official charities of the NHS.