World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore made headlines recently after raising more than 30 million pounds for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his garden. So on his 100th birthday on Thursday, the veteran was awarded the rank of honorary colonel for being an “an inspirational role model” and the nation’s air force did a flypast his East England home.
The British Army issued a statement explaining why Moore was being awarded the honorary rank.
“His mature wisdom, no-nonsense attitude and humour in adversity make him an inspirational role model to generations young and old,” General Mark Carleton-Smith, chief of the general staff of the British Army, said in the statement.
🎉@captaintommoore has been appointed as the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College Harrogate. Happy birthday Colonel Tom!
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 30, 2020
Then there was the Royal Air Force flypast above his home in which a vintage Spitfire and a Hurricane aircraft above his Bedfordshire home in the morning. However, the timing of the flypast was not revealed to prevent crowds from showing up at the veteran’s home.
Captain Tom Moore, the war veteran who has raised more than £29m for the UK’s NHS, celebrates his 100th birthday with an RAF flypasthttps://t.co/jadeUnr3LJ pic.twitter.com/XklWJGyrHj
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 30, 2020
Captain Moore and his daughter Hannah waved and enjoyed the flypast from their home.
Queen of England Elizabeth II also extended her best wishes and sent him a special card for his birthday.
Today we join people across the UK and around the world in wishing Captain Tom Moore a very happy 100th birthday 🎈 pic.twitter.com/8wqkGSZdDt
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 30, 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a special message for the national hero and thanked him behalf of the whole county.
“Your heroic efforts have lifted the spirits of the entire nation. You’ve created a channel to enable millions to say a heartfelt thank you to the remarkable men and women in our NHS who are doing the most astounding job,” he said.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 30, 2020
The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House put together a special performance for his centenary from their homes.
🎂 ❤️ A special message for @captaintommoore on his 100th birthday!
— Royal Opera House (@RoyalOperaHouse) April 30, 2020
The Archbishop of Canterbury joined in wishing Moore and said the veteran was “an inspiration to us all”.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) April 30, 2020
The veteran was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and Catherine McGuinness, policy chairwoman at the City Corporation, nominated the veteran and he will receive the honour at a virtual ceremony next week.
Captain Tom Moore, who has raised nearly £30 million for @NHSuk, will receive the Freedom of the City of London, in recognition of his charitable work. The former British Army officer, who is 100 today, will receive the award next week. https://t.co/J2hE7oRrXc #CaptainTomMoore pic.twitter.com/1dHbHTPfLa
— City of London (@cityoflondon) April 30, 2020
The Royal Mail in a special tribute painted a mailbox near his house called the ‘NHS blue’ and the postal service has been stamping all mail with a special postmark to celebrate the veteran’s 100th birthday.
To mark the joyous occasion, a birthday message was displayed on a big screen in London’s Piccadilly Circus. “Happy 100th birthday Captain Tom Moore. The whole nation celebrates with you,” the message said along with his photo.
The Armed Forces in Northern Ireland installed a 14-foot mural at Aldergrove Flying station which was unveiled to patriotic songs.
The veteran was flooded with over 125,000 birthday cards, which were put on display at the Bedford School in southeast England, where his grandson is a student.
A Special birthday cake was delivered to his home by the House of York. The gift from the cadet branch included a figure of the veteran made from icing and the NHS logo, as well as a picture of him as a young soldier during the Second World War, The Telegraph reported.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast on the special occasion, Moore said: “It hardly feels any different to yesterday. I don’t know what you’re meant to feel like when you get to 100. I’ve never been 100 before, so I really can’t tell you what difference there is from yesterday, today or maybe tomorrow.”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) April 30, 2020
He said he is “absolutely delighted” with all the birthday wishes he has received, adding: “It really is absolutely awesome the amount of people who’ve been so kind to make those remarks. Thank you all very much.”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) April 30, 2020
The family also distributed cupcakes among local residents on the occasion.
Born in Yorkshire, northern England, Moore trained as a civil engineer before being enlisted in the British Army during World War II, where he served in India, Indonesia and Britain. He later became the managing director of a concrete manufacturer.