Captain Sir Tom Moore hailed as a 'shining light' as tributes flood in for World War Two veteran

  • Video report by ITV News Senior Correspondent Paul Davies

Captain Sir Tom Moore has been hailed as a "shining light" for the entire nation during the pandemic, as tributes poured in from across the world following his death at the age of 100.

The Second World War veteran, who became a national treasure for his extraordinary fundraising efforts, was admitted to hospital on Sunday with breathing difficulties.

Captain Sir Tom's daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, said her father had pneumonia for the last few weeks "and last week tested positive for Covid-19".

He died surrounded by his close family, with one more present on FaceTime.

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".

'What a character, a sense of duty, a wicked sense of humour, cheeky - you've got to call him cheeky - and such humility'

ITV News' Senior Correspondent Paul Davies pays tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore saying 'he was quite simply a shining light' during the pandemic

Tributes to Sir Tom began flooding in within moments of his death being announced.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

"Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Cpt Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year.

"Her thoughts, and those of the Royal Family, are with them, recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world."

Captain Sir Thomas Moore receiving his knighthood from the Queen during a ceremony at Windsor Castle Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Captain Sir Tom Moore was a hero in the truest sense of the word.

"In the dark days of the Second World War he fought for freedom and in the face of this country's deepest post-war crisis he united us all, he cheered us all up, and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit," he added.

Mr Johnson praised his charitable work and said he had inspired "countless" others to "thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us through the pandemic."

In a video tweet, Mr Johnson said: "It’s quite astonishing that, at the age of 100, he raised more than £32million for the NHS on his own and so gave countless others their own chance to thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us throughout this pandemic.

"He became not just a national inspiration, but a beacon of hope for the world," he added.

The prime minister has also lowered the flag above Number 10 to half-mast to pay tribute to Sir Tom.

The flag above Number 10 has been lowered to half-mast to pay tribute Captain Sir Tom Moore. Credit: Number 10 Downing Street

The White House paid tribute on social media, tweeting: "We join the United Kingdom and the world in honouring the memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who inspired millions through his life and his actions."

Sir Tom's family said in a statement: "We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

"The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of."

They continued: "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."The family praised the "extraordinary" care the NHS provided to Sir Tom, adding: "They have been unfalteringly professional, kind and compassionate and have given us many more years with him than we ever would have imagined.

"Over the past few days our father spoke a great deal about the last 12 months and how proud he felt at being able to leave behind the growing legacy of his Foundation."

The family said Sir Tom had not been given a vaccine due to other medication he was receiving for pneumonia.

They also revealed Sir Tom had been receiving treatment for prostate and skin cancer for the last five years but, with the help of his medical team, had made the decision not to have invasive treatment.

The statement said doctors were consulted before Sir Tom and his family flew to Barbados on December 11.

This was before Bedford was placed into Tier 3 on December 19 and later Tier 4 on December 20 - he returned to the UK on January 6.

  • An ITV report from April highlighting Sir Tom's laps of his garden

Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where Sir Tom was being treated, said it had been an "immense privilege" to care for him.

Chief Nurse, Liz Lees OBE said: "We share our deepest condolences and sympathies with his family and loved ones at this incredibly sad time."

The Royal British Legion said Sir Tom "epitomised the indomitable spirit of our wartime generation and was a true inspiration to millions of people worldwide during some of the most challenging of times in recent history".

"Sir Tom will be remembered as a shining beacon of hope in what was a difficult year for all."

The Royal British Legion said: "His achievements during his military service in the Second World War and his more recent accomplishments, raising millions for the NHS and establishing the Captain Tom Foundation, means that his legacy will live on and help many generations to come."

“He will remain a symbol of positivity and hope and will be missed by many people across the world to whom he has come to mean so much.”

Sir Tom inspired the nation during the first lockdown after he set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS by doing 100 laps of his garden just before his 100th birthday despite his limited mobility.

His determination caught the attention of the nation and he ended up raising £32.7m for charity.

NHS Charities Together, for which Sir Tom raised more than £32 million, paid tribute to the veteran, saying: "Captain Sir Tom Moore was a complete inspiration to us all and he did more than anyone to raise vital funds to support NHS patients, staff and volunteers during this crisis, when help was most needed."

Chief executive Ellie Orton said: "We owe him so much and we are devastated at today’s news. Our hearts go out to his family."

She continued: "Thanks to his amazing efforts, funds have reached the length and breadth of the UK through every one of our 241 member charities, and they have made a huge difference on the ground, both to address the immediate needs of patients and staff and to support the longer-term recovery of the NHS."

Flowers left outside the home of 100-year-old charity fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore who has died after testing positive for Covid-19. Credit: PA

Ms Orton added: "Captain Sir Tom inspired so many people to take on their own extraordinary challenges, from running marathons to swimming lakes, and he gave us all hope."

"Captain Sir Tom was a one-off and he leaves the world a better place.

"His legacy will be felt for years to come by all of our NHS charities and the patients, staff and volunteers we support."

Through numerous interviews over the course of the pandemic Sir Tom's confidence that life would eventually get better was an inspiration to many.

Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, on April 30 1920, Sir Tom said his childhood was happy but tough.

A young Captain Sir Tom Moore, when he served in India and Burma. Credit: IWM Duxford/PA

He served in Arakan and western Burma during the Second World War.

After the war, he returned to the UK where he struggled to find a job in the post-war downturn and was forced to take a "soul-destroying" job as a door to door salesman.

He eventually landed a role at a building materials company in Gravesend, Kent, where he met his future wife, Pamela.