One man has been noted as the standout hero during the coronavirus pandemic - Captain Tom Moore, who is set to be knighted by the Queen.
The 100-year-old war veteran captured the hearts of the nation in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, after pledging to raise as much money as possible for the NHS during the crisis.
In the end, he raised more than £32 million or the health service, after completing 100 laps of his garden during lockdown.
Now, Captain Tom will receive a huge honour for his efforts – a knighthood from the Queen.
Captain Tom Moore knighted: where and when is it happening?
Tom will be knighted later today (Friday 17th July) at Windsor Castle by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
Normally, investitures like these take place at Buckingham Palace. But given that the Queen has been isolating at Windsor during lockdown, she will complete the official engagement in person there.
It is one of the first official engagements the Queen has completed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The ceremony will not be available to watch in person, and the public have been discouraged from going to Windsor to view the proceedings.
Of the honour, Captain Tom said in a Tweet a few days ago that it will ‘be the most special of days for me’.
So what has been Tom’s journey towards his knighthood?
Captain Tom’s journey to a knighthood
Having recently celebrated his 100th birthday, Tom has done a huge amount to earn his honour – not least his recent fundraising work for the NHS.
Tom was born in Keighley in West Yorkshire. When he was younger, Captain Tom served as an officer in India, the Burma campaign, and Sumatra during the Second World War. He later became an instructor in armoured warfare, too.
After his service in the war, he worked as a managing director of a concrete company – and even enjoyed motorcycle racing in his spare time.
At the beginning of April, Tom decided to walk 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire, to try and raise £1000 for NHS Charities Together before his 100th birthday on 30th April.
And of course, he far surpassed his target, earning £1 million initially after just a few days of fundraising, following media attention and press stories on his efforts.
During the course of his efforts, Tom was also asked to open the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate, which he did alongside his daughter via video-link.
Tom also achieved a number one single during lockdown, taking part in a cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with Michael Ball.
Later that month, Tom was made a honorary colonal by the Army Foundation College as a result of his fundraising efforts. He was also given a Pride of Britain award from Carol Vorderman for his NHS charity walk – so he certainly had a very busy lockdown!
On the morning of Tom’s 100th birthday, he had raised £30 million in donations, despite finishing his 100 laps a few days earlier. The fundraising stayed open for a few days following his birthday, finishing with a whopping £32 million total.
Overwhelmingly, he was sent more than 125,000 birthday cards, many of which were displayed in the Great Hall of Bedford School. He also received a card, and no doubt a birthday telegram celebrating his centenary on his birthday as well.
During the pandemic, NHS staff held up signs for Captain Tom during the weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ – proving just how much of a hero he became for the country during an incredibly difficult time.
He now even holds two Guinness World Records – as the fundraiser who has raised the greatest amount of money in an individual charity walk, and as the oldest person to achieve a number-one single in the UK charts. In April, he was also surprised on Good Morning Britain with a Pride of Britain Award, and a personal message from the Queen.
Captain Tom’s knighthood was announced by Boris Johnson during lockdown, and he will finally receive the honour today.