The head of the Armed Forces has praised Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore, whose fundraising for the NHS “embodies the sense of service and duty ingrained” in Britain’s military.
Capt Moore has raised more than £28m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on April 30.
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter singled Capt Moore out for praise at Wednesday’s daily coronavirus press conference, stating: “We’ve even mobilised 99-year-old veterans”.
“I think everyone would agree that Captain Tom Moore embodies the sense of service and duty ingrained in our Armed Forces,” he said.
“Our Armed Forces are drawn from every part of the United Kingdom and much of the Commonwealth and they take great pride in serving the communities that they are part of.
“Everyone is experiencing real challenges at the moment and it makes me feel immensely proud of our collective national effort in pulling together behind those on the front line to combat this unprecedented challenge which I firmly believe we will defeat together.”
At the beginning of the Second World War, Capt Moore enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (8 DWR), an infantry unit that was converted to operate Churchill tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).
In 1940 he was selected for Officer training and rose to the rank of Captain.
His fundraising has won him a legion of fans, and he has been sent so many birthday cards that a dedicated sorting office has been set up at his grandson’s school, Bedford School.
The school hall, nicknamed Captain Tom’s sorting office, has received more than 90,000 cards.
They are being opened by volunteers and displayed, with photographs being taken of them to show Capt Moore as many as possible.
Capt Moore’s 16-year-old grandson Benjie Ingram-Moore told BBC Breakfast: “I think a lot of the cards are so heartfelt and it really shows the effort people have put in.
“I think he will really appreciate that.
“I’m going to try to take as many pictures of them as I can and show them to him as he will happily sit through and read them all.
“It just shows that people really do care about these sort of things.
“Especially in a tough time. I think people really have joined together to make the effort for this.”
James Hodgson, headmaster at Bedford School, told the broadcaster: “It’s a wonderful story at a time where frankly everybody needed it.
“It’s also a real reaffirmation of people’s kindness and I’m a great believer that people are fundamentally kind and this is just the most wonderful way to show it.”
Volunteers are saving the used stamps from the cards to donate to the RSPB, the school said.