Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British war veteran, completed the last of 100 laps of his garden on Thursday, raising £13 million for the NHS in an endeavour that has spread joy across the country amid the coronavirus gloom.
Now, his local post office is gearing up for receiving birthday cards on behalf of the retired army captain who will turn 100 on 30 April.
The Moore family approached Marston Moretaine Postmaster Bill Chandi requesting his help in providing an address to send birthday cards as it became clear that people wanted to celebrate the milestone birthday.
Postmaster Bill Chandi, who is also a local councilor and knows Moore and his daughter Hannah and son-in-law Colin Ingram well, said he was very happy to help.
“Captain Tom is a remarkable man and a role model. He is a real gentleman and they don’t make models like him anymore. My post office is at the heart of the Marston Moretaine community and I am delighted to be accepting 100th birthday cards on behalf of this community’s most famous resident,” Cllr Chandi said.
Moore, who has used a walking frame with wheels since breaking his hip, set himself the target of walking the 25 metres around his garden 100 times before his 100th birthday.
“For all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away,” said Moore, dressed in a blazer and tie and displaying his war medals, after completing his walk.
He completed his challenge to praise from around the country and beyond – and a salute from soldiers in the regiment which replaced his own.
Raised in Yorkshire, northern England, Moore served in India, Burma and Sumatra during World War Two.
He said the walk was inspired by the care he received from Britain’s state-run health service when he broke his hip and when he was treated for cancer.
His original target was 1,000 pounds. But that modest aim was blown away as media attention from around the globe zoomed in on his garden in Bedfordshire, central England.
The story has lifted the hearts of a nation in lockdown, weary of relentless waves of grim news.
It has also embodied an outpouring of gratitude for Britain’s doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the front line in the fight against the pandemic.
So far, nearly 13,000 people with COVID-19 have died in British hospitals, the fifth-highest total globally. Twenty-seven were health workers, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Moore’s achievement was a “shaft of light” in the darkness of the COVID-19 crisis, he said. “Captain Tom, what an inspiration to us all.”
Moore said the £13 million was an “absolutely fantastic sum of money”.
“It’s unbelievable that people would be so kind to give that sort of money to the National Health Service,” he said.
Moore received a guard of honour from soldiers from the First Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, the successor to his Duke of Wellington’s regiment, as he completed his final lap.
Afterwards he received messages of congratulation from figures from sport, politics and entertainment.
Ben Stokes, England’s leading cricketer, said he hoped he would be moving as well as Moore when he was 50 let alone 100, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak praised his “Yorkshire grit”.
Moore, however, remained focused on the sacrifices made by health service workers and the efforts of his fellow Britons, who have been locked down since March 23.
“You’ve all got to remember that we will get through it in the end, it will all be right, it might take time,” Moore said. “At the end of the day we shall all be okay again.”
Birthday cards can be sent to for Captain Tom Moore c/o Marston Moretaine Post Office, 67 Bedford Road, Marston Mortaine, Bedford, MK43 0LA.