Captain Tom Moore delivers powerful message of hope after being awarded knighthood

20 May 2020, 11:28

Captain Tom Moore is set to be knighted by the Queen
Captain Tom Moore is set to be knighted by the Queen. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Captain Tom Moore has said he is "absolutely thrilled" to have been awarded a knighthood by the Queen.

The inspirational 100-year-old Second World War veteran is set to be knighted after raising almost £33 million for the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Soon to be Sir Tom said he was "overawed" to hear the news, announced by Downing Street on Tuesday night, and that he wanted to express his gratitude to everyone who helped him achieve the record-breaking feat.

"I'm absolutely thrilled Her Majesty has decided - or chosen little old me. It really is a great honour and something I never, ever anticipated," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

"I never believed this would happen to me. The Queen is so gracious that she’s bestowed this honour on me, I’m totally thrilled as it never entered my head something like that would happen to me.”

Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, added: “It’s just simply extraordinary... it was just amazing for people to believe that he should be knighted.

“We quietly hoped and believed it too. For this to happen, we’re simply thrilled for him. We’ve been practicing our curtseying, we’re not doing very well. My husband even offered to polish his shoes this morning."

When asked what he would say to the Queen when he meets her, Captain Tom said: "A discussion between me and the Queen will have to be kept secret.”

He then offered the nation hope as it attempts to make its way out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“After the storm, there will be a golden sky and I think you’ve got to look forwards to the fact that things will get better and we’ll have a lovely, golden sky and we’ll hear the larks singing again beautifully,” he said.

Captain Tom, who last month celebrated his 100th birthday, inspired the nation when he began walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden to raise money for the NHS.

But despite only wanting to raise £1,000, he has gone on to secure almost £33 million as the British public got behind him.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the centenarian said: "I must say it's rather different.

"I mean, to get this honour is so outstanding that I really can't say how different I feel, but I certainly feel I've been given a very outstanding honour by the Queen and the Prime Minister.

"I thank them all very much.

"I'm certainly delighted and I am overawed by the fact that this has happened to me."

The heroic war veteran, describing the moment a letter arrived telling him he was to be knighted, told the broadcaster: "I thought 'This can't be true'.

"I've always said 'This won't happen', and now it appears it actually has, but I certainly was never anticipating that that letter would arrive for me."

A message from Captain Tom posted on his Twitter account said: "I am absolutely overwhelmed. Never for one moment could I have imagined I would be awarded with such a great honour.

"I'd like to thank Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Great British public. I will remain at your service.

"This started as something small and I've been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond.

"We must take this opportunity to recognise our frontline heroes of the National Health Service who put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe."

Tributes have poured in from politicians and celebrities alike, with Michael Ball - who covered the chart-topping You'll Never Walk Alone with the war veteran - leading the way.

"Arise Captain SIR Tom Moore!!!!

"I couldn't be more thrilled and proud. A fitting honour for a true British hero. So well deserved and bloody marvellous. Well done and thank you for everything Sir."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: "On behalf of UK Labour, I congratulate Captain Tom Moore on his knighthood.

"In these difficult times for our country, Tom brought inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS."

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