Captain Tom praises "magnificent" NHS staff as he officially opens Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate

Captain Tom Moore has been the official guest of honour at the opening of the latest NHS Nightingale Hospital.

The 99-year-old veteran, who raised £27 million for NHS charities by walking 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire, was asked to open the new hospital which is in his home county of Yorkshire.

It has been built at Harrogate Convention Centre and, appearing at the opening ceremony via video link, Captain Tom paid tribute to the health workers fighting coronavirus.

Watch the moment Captain Tom officially opened the hospital:

He said: "All the doctors and nurses throughout the NHS are doing such a magnificent job under very difficult conditions and every day they’re putting themselves in harms way, night and morning.

"I think we must all say thank you very much to the NHS, not just the doctors and nurses but everyone throughout the whole system who are doing such a magnificent job."

Read more: Prince Harry says Captain Tom is "utterly amazing"

Speaking to ITV Anglia after the ceremony, he said it was "outstanding for me to be given the honour of opening a hospital".

"My main hope is that they don't need it," he added. "We don't want to have people in the beds, let's hope they all manage to get better before they go into intensive care."

Captain Tom, who served in World War II with the Royal Armoured Corps, had originally set out to raise £1,000 by walking laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine.

However, his challenge achieved international fame and television crews from around the world were there to see him complete his 100th lap on 16 April.

The veteran originally aimed to raise just £1,000 for the NHS Credit: ITV Anglia

Since then Captain Tom and Michael Ball have reached number one in the UK charts after teaming up for a duet of 'You'll Never Walk Alone',

Their song was used to close the Nightingale Hospital's opening ceremony, after Medical Director Yvette Oade led staff there in a round of applause for the veteran.

She said: "We’re truly honoured to have you here with us today, you’re an inspiration to this country and you’re just what we need to make it through these unprecedented times."

Hannah Ingram-Moore, Tom's daughter, appeared with her father via videolink Credit: ITV Anglia

Captain Tom turns 100 on the 30 April, and birthday cards have been flooding in to Bedfordshire from around the world.

A Spitfire flypast is reportedly being planned to mark his birthday, and a petition for him to be knighted has nearly 900,000 signatures.

His fundraising page remains open:

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