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From Captain to Colonel to Sir Tom - a knighthood for 100-year-old charity champion

He raised £33 million by walking round his garden before his 100th birthday and now Tom Moore is to be knighted. Credit: PA Images

Colonel Tom Moore, the centenarian from Bedfordshire who single-handedly raised £33m for NHS charities, is to be knighted by the Queen.

  • Click below to watch our report from Rebecca Haworth

Colonel Tom Moore, the centenarian from Bedfordshire who single-handedly raised £33m for NHS charities, is to be knighted by the Queen.

At the age of 99 and then a retired army Captain, Tom wanted to raise £1,000 for NHS charities by doing 100 laps of garden in Marston Moretaine near Bedford using is walking frame.

His fundraising efforts captured the hearts of the nation and the world and he became a media darling as his charity cash total raced upwards at the rate of hundreds of thousands of pounds an hour.

It eventually totted up to £32,796,485 from more than 1½ million donors.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, salutes veteran Captain Tom Moore as the veteran is promoted to Honorary Colonel. Credit: PA Images

In recognition of his efforts, Captain Tom was promoted to honorary colonel of Army Foundation College in Harrogate by his old army unit, the Yorkshire Regiment.

He who was born in Keighley, served with the 8th Battalion The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, which is now part of The Yorkshire Regiment.

The Second World War veteran first appeared on ITV News Anglia at the beginning of April with a very modest fundraising target.

He celebrated his 100th birthday last month when his received 150,000 birthday cards.

He also released a charity single, You'll Never Walk Alone, with singer Michael Ball, which reached number one in the charts, making him the oldest artist ever to have a UK number one single.

Now the Prime Minister has recommended to the Queen that Colonel Tom be exceptionally honoured with a knighthood.

Tens of thousands of birthday cards for British veteran Captain Tom Moore are pictured in the hall of Bedford School. Credit: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

“Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.

“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He’s a true national treasure.”

– Boris Johnson MP

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer congratulated Sir Tom who he said had brought "inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS".

He added: "In his actions, Tom embodied the national solidarity which has grown throughout this crisis, and showed us that everyone can play their part in helping build a better future."

Tom Moore record fundraising efforts were highlighted in London's Piccadilly Circus. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Colonel Tom and now Sir Tom, has already had various honours heaped upon him:

A blue postbox outside Village Post office in Marston Moretaine as Royal Mail celebrated Captain Tom Moore's 100th birthday. Credit: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Colonel Tom’s honour is due to be formally announced on Wednesday when the Government will also give more details on plans to honour frontline staff, who have been fighting coronavirus across the country.

A government spokesman said: “We know there is huge appetite to say thank you to all those supporting the nation during this emergency and doing incredible things day in, day out, up and down the country.

“We will ensure these unsung heroes are recognised in the right way, at the right time.”

Captain Tom Moore and his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore speaking via videolink at the opening of NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and Humber in Harrogate. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

The stamps on Colonel Tom's 150,000 birthday cards filled 60 black bags and weighed 30kg. They were expected to raise £600 for charity.

150 members of the Bedford School community spent 1,750 hours helping to open the cards and display them in the school hall on 200 metres of ribbon.

The cards contained £60,000 to add to the charity total.

Sir Tom is due to publish two books later this year as he launches a new charitable foundation.

War veteran Captain Tom Moore, with (left to right) grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and granddaughter Georgia, at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

Sir Tom enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (8 DWR), an infantry unit that was converted to operate Churchill tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).

In 1940 he was selected for officer training and rose to the rank of captain, later being posted to 9 DWR in India.

He served and fought in the Arakan in western Burma, since renamed Rakhine State, and went with his regiment to Sumatra after the Japanese surrender.

After the war he returned to the UK and worked as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington, Dorset.

He lived in Kent for many years before moving to Bedfordshire to be with his family in 2007.

Tom Moore nears the end of his 100 laps of the garden. Credit: Frances Haycock/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

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