A 99-year-old veteran who is raising funds for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden has hailed the public for their generosity as donations topped £7 million.
Captain Tom Moore is on track to complete 100 of the 25-metre laps before he turns 100 on April 30.
Mr Moore, who lives with his family in Bedfordshire, had hoped to raise £1,000 for the NHS when he started the challenge last week.
By Wednesday afternoon, a total of more than £7 million had been donated by more than 340,000 supporters.
Earlier in the day his JustGiving page crashed, with more than 90,000 people trying to access it at once.
Reacting on Wednesday morning as he was told that his fundraising drive had broken the £5 million barrier, before it topped £7 million later in the day, Mr Moore said on BBC One: “Completely out of this world!
“Thank you so much to all you people who subscribe to the National Health Service because, for every penny that we get, they deserve every one of it.”
He told the broadcaster: “I think that’s absolutely enormous.
“At no time when we started off with this exercise did we anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money.
“It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our National Health Service and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money.”
He’s a stoic Yorkshireman, he’s an unruffled straight-down-the-line kind of person and has embraced this adventure as the next stage of his lifeHannah Ingram-Moore
Mr Moore began raising funds to thank NHS staff who treated him for a broken hip.
His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, told the BBC that the amount raised was “beyond our wildest expectations”.
When the JustGiving page went live last week they thought their £1,000 target was a “real stretch”, she said.
“No words can express our gratitude to the British public for getting behind Tom, for making this into a heartfelt story,” she added.
“He’s a stoic Yorkshireman, he’s an unruffled straight-down-the-line kind of person and has embraced this adventure as the next stage of his life.
“I believe that life is all about purpose, we all need purpose, and, whilst he’s had a life full of purpose, he did fall and break his hip and became much less independent than he had been for the preceding 98 years, and what you have done, the British public, and everyone who’s supported him, is giving him his next purpose.
“He is articulate, he’s alive, he’s doing this and I think he’ll do this until everyone says ‘Stop, don’t do it any more’.”
7 MILLION POUNDS!!!!— Captain Tom Moore (@captaintommoore) April 15, 2020
The Great British public, your generosity is just incredible!
THANK YOU!! #walkwithtom #TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay @NHSCharities @BBCNaga @mrdanwalker @louiseminchin @piersmorgan @susannareid100
Mr Moore is ahead of schedule with his walking and is hoping to finish the challenge by Thursday.
Originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, Mr Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army for the Second World War, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma.
His Twitter account said: “7 MILLION POUNDS!!!!
“The Great British public, your generosity is just incredible!
Earlier it praised JustGiving for trying to ensure the site did not crash with over 90,000 people on Mr Moore’s page at once, adding: “WOW – just speechless.”
We want to give back to this Legend TOM @captaintommoore who has raised over One Million pound for our @NHSMillion - we are kindly asking all kids across the UK to make him a Virtual Birthday card to say thanks - here are the instructions #makeacardfortom Please all share #NHS pic.twitter.com/f8Ck8LQZwq— Reegan Davies (@DaviesReegan) April 14, 2020
Meanwhile, an eight-year-old girl has started an online campaign for children to make birthday cards for Mr Moore’s 100th birthday.
Reegan Davies, from Port Talbot, South Wales, set a target of 1,500 virtual cards after posting a video online to thank him for his fundraising efforts.
She says in the video posted on Twitter: “You’ve got to make a birthday card for Tom, any social media you post it, and tag #makeacardfortom”.
– Donations to NHS Charities Together can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs