Tom Moore, the fearless British Army veteran whose charity walks raised $ 45 million in hospitals across the UK and made him a symbol of courage in a country devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, died Tuesday (2). The death was announced on his Twitter account.
Moore, 100, had been treated for pneumonia in recent weeks and was diagnosed with coronavirus last month, according to his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, posted to Twitter on Jan.31. He was taken to hospital because he needed help breathing, she said, and his condition deteriorated.
Sleek, nimble and in good spirits, Moore wowed the whole of the UK with 82 steps at a time – the number needed to walk through a brick patio next to his garden in Marston Moretaine, an hour north of London. He took the hundredth lap before turning 100 in April.
Moore’s feat, which stemmed from a challenge by his son-in-law, became a media sensation when Ingram-Moore published his father’s walks and launched an online campaign to raise funds for the NHS (the service of British public health)). With donors including Prince William, who called it “a fundraiser,” Moore quickly raised £ 32.8million.
In the process, Moore has become a pop culture phenomenon. His walks have been shown on BBC, CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera, and his face has been featured on the front pages of UK tabloids. These newspapers nicknamed him Captain Tom, his military rank until he was named Honorary Colonel by the Army Foundation College.
He brokered a deal for several books, recorded a song that reached the top of the charts and received the knight title from Queen Elizabeth II, who left isolation for the first time since the start of the pandemic to confer honor at Windsor Castle in July.
At 94, the Queen formed a notable couple with Moore – a living star with British WWII history, who was cited during the pandemic as an example of the courage and stoicism the country needs today. hui.
While still a princess, Elizabeth worked as a truck driver and mechanic during the war, and Moore was a decorated army officer who fought in the harsh countryside of Burma (now Myanmar).
Moore’s final days were lightly marked by reviews of a trip he and his family took to the Caribbean island of Barbados in December. Some people have taken to social media to wonder why a 100-year-old man would take a vacation abroad at a time when the government was discouraging such trips because of the pandemic.
Moore’s supporters have pointed out that the flight, which was paid for by British Airways, took place before Prime Minister Boris Johnson tightened England’s lockdown rules on December 19, after scientists quickly detected a new variant of the virus that was spreading.
There is no evidence that Moore fell ill during the trip. On December 18, he appeared in a photo posted to his Twitter page in shorts, with the caption “Enjoying a great day with the family in sunny Barbados”.
Born in Keighley, a Yorkshire village, to a family of builders, Moore studied civil engineering. In 1940, at the age of 20, he was summoned and assigned to the Duke of Wellington’s regiment. Stationed for the first time in Cornwall, in the south-west of England, he was chosen to train officers and deployed to India. He trained Indian recruits to ride motorcycles, a passion he acquired in his childhood and accompanied him throughout his life.
Moore was later sent to Burma. While there, the British launched a counterattack against the Japanese occupiers in a coastal region now known as Rakhine. It was war in the jungle, against a fierce enemy in deplorable conditions, full of tropical diseases and insects.
“If you took your jacket off at night to hang it up, in the morning you had to shake it to remove spiders and other creatures,” Moore said in an interview with the New York Times in May.
But he added: “I don’t remember being scared back then.”
Moore returned home after the war and built a comfortable life for himself as the manager of a concrete company. He remained energetic until the late ’90s, mowing the garden, running a greenhouse and driving his car. But two years ago he fell in the kitchen, broke his hip and rib, and punctured a lung.
His hospitalization earned him great recognition for NHS doctors and nurses. As the service faced an increase in the flow of coronavirus patients last spring, raising funds for its struggling staff seemed like a good cause.
“Never in a hundred years when we started, did we anticipate that this amount of money would be raised,” said Moore.
Some of the money he received is used to set up therapy facilities for doctors and nurses to relax after work treating Covid patients. Moore said he saw the move as a way to support health workers, recalling that the British had supported him and his fellow soldiers during the war.
“Back then, people my age were fighting on the front lines and the general public was behind us,” Moore said. “In this case, the doctors and nurses and all the medical staff are on the front lines. It’s my generation to support them, just as they have supported us.”
Even after turning 100, Moore hasn’t lost her sense of adventure. Besides Barbados, he expressed the wish to return to India.
“It’s something I would love to do, but at 100 …” he said, “you have some time.”