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UK joins together in national clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore
3 February 2021, 18:07 | Updated: 3 February 2021, 20:37
The UK has paid tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore with a national clap, led by Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street.
People across the country took part in the tribute to the veteran at 6pm on Wednesday, following his death at the age of 100.
Mr Johnson stood on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street with his fiancee Carrie Symonds, having earlier urged the public to join in the clap "to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in".
Sir Tom's family said they were "incredibly touched" by the gesture and took part outside their home in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also joined the clap to commemorate the veteran's life after he died on Tuesday.
Sir Tom's death on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19 prompted reaction from around the world and charities have vowed his legacy will live on "for years and years".
His family said the last year of his life was "nothing short of remarkable", and that he had "experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Captain Tom's contribution - having raised more than £32 million for the NHS during the first coronavirus lockdown - will be formally marked.
Asked whether a statue might be built "in possibly his home town or where he was born or in London", Mr Hancock told LBC: "Yes, I do think that we should find a way, at the right time, to honour the contribution that he made to the NHS and he was an inspiration to so many people."
Captain Tom set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday last April - but his efforts struck a chord with the nation and donations flooded in.
In acknowledgement of his fundraising, he was knighted by the Queen during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer 2020.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said Sir Tom "lifted the spirits of an entire nation" and demonstrated that "you're never too old, you're never too anything to care for people and to make a difference".
She said: "He really was a beacon of hope, the optimism that he brought in and hope to us in a really dark and difficult time for this nation, and particularly for the NHS, is just incredible.
Staff from across our hospitals come together to clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised almost £33 million for NHS charities - Thank you for everything, Sir Tom 💙#ClapForTom #ClapForCaptainTom pic.twitter.com/Jg2z8arGyo— Hampshire Hospitals (@HHFTnhs) February 3, 2021
"He is held in such amazing high regard, he is a national hero and his legacy will live on in the NHS for years and years to come."
The Captain Tom Foundation, which was set up to support causes close to Sir Tom's heart, said its work would "aspire to ensure Tom's message of hope becomes an enduring legacy".
Sir Tom had been taken to hospital on Sunday after being treated for pneumonia for some time and testing positive for coronavirus last week.
His family praised the care he had received from the NHS and said they had been able to spend time with him in his final hours.
In a statement, his daughters, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, said: "We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, Benjie and Georgia by his bedside and Lucy on FaceTime.
"We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together."
They added: "Whilst he'd been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever."
Floral tributes have been left in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire where Sir Tom lived.
Bill Chandi, his friend and local postmaster, said more than 100 cards addressed to the family had arrived on Wednesday, with people starting to send messages after it was reported that Sir Tom had been taken to hospital.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen would be sending a private message of condolence to Sir Tom's family, while the White House also joined the chorus of tributes.