Love, tragedy and heroism: Sir Tom Moore's extraordinary life story revealed in new ITV documentary

Sir Tom Moore Credit: PA

Lockdown hero Sir Tom Moore has revealed the history of his life in an upcoming ITV documentary.

The 100-year-old became famous after raising more than £30 million for NHS charities during the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

His laps of his garden became something of a national icon which was celebrated across the country during the crisis.

For his actions, he was knighted by the queen.

In the documentary which will be broadcast on ITV on Thursday night, Sir Tom reveals the story of his life for the first time.

Despite the tough realities of the current pandemic Sir Tom remained optimistic, he said: "In 1925 when I was five, I could never have imagined things that are happening now.

"You've got so many darned people who think, 'Oh, it's terrible,' but it isn't.

"Things are going to get better, they really are."Sir Tom was raised in Keighley, Yorkshire, and described a happy but tough upbringing.

He said his father would bring him pieces of wood, nails and, hammers as presents rather than teddy bears, all of which he says prepared him for later life.

Sir Tom goes into detail about how his uncle Billy had a great influence on him and inspired his life long passion for motorbikes.

He said: "My first motorcycle, I found in a barn, and I bought it for half a crown.

"Its tyres were flat, it was covered in dust and didn't run.

"I was 12, and not boasting or anything, I had been brought up with motorbikes and on my own, without anybody's help, I got it running and ran it in the field.

"Nobody came and gave me help, they just assumed I would do it, and I did it."

Only a few years later, tragedy struck when Sir Tom's uncle was found dead in his garage.

When asked if he missed his uncle, a tearful Sir Tom replied: "Yes, I did, yes. Very much so, yes. Very sad."

The documentary explores how Sir Tom was shipped off to India and then Burma during the Second World War and the life he had after he came home.

When getting back to England, Sir Tom describes how he struggled to find a job in the post-war downturn.

He took a "soul-destroying" job as a door to door salesman before eventually landing a role at a building materials company in Gravesend, Kent, where he met his future wife, Pamela.

He said: "I got more and more attached to this lady in the office management, the relationship blossomed and I married her.

"No going down on one knee or anything fancy like that, she was 15 years younger than me."

He added that Pamela's family was not happy with her choice in man, saying they said to him: "We don't have Yorkshiremen in southern Kent, they are animals, they don't speak proper!

"Maybe she thought anything is better than nothing."

Sir Tom also gives his perspective on immigration in the 1950s; on "free love" in the 1960s, on nursing a beloved wife through a degenerative brain disease, travelling to Nepal alone in his 90s and a near-fatal accident 18 months ago.

Historian Dominic Sandbrook explained why he thinks the story of Captain Sir Tom caught the imagination of the nation in the way it did.

He said: "(Sir Tom) is like a sort of secular version of the Queen.

"We were in this time of great crisis and anxiety and people looked to him and they said, 'There's a kind of Britishness that reminds us that we will prevail, and come through this."

  • The Life And Times Of Captain Sir Tom airs on ITV at 9.15pm, Thursday 13th August