This article was written on Thursday 30 April 2020, which is Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday. Everyone at Barrett & Co wishes Captain Tom an incredibly happy birthday, and congratulates him for his incredible fundraising efforts for the NHS charities.
The BBC this morning called Captain Tom the “heartbeat of the nation”. But how did he capture all our hearts?
Captain Tom was recently treated for a broken hip and skin cancer. He was so grateful for the care he received in hospital that, on Good Friday, he decided to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. It was something for him to do during the lockdown to raise money “for the sake of the nurses and the NHS we have, because they are doing such a magnificent job”.
Captain Tom and has family ambitiously set a target of £1,000 to raise for the NHS charities. The total raised reached £31m on the morning of his birthday and is still rising.
At the end of his walk, Captain Tom said:
“To all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine on you again, and the clouds will go away.”
And that is how Captain Tom captured the nation.
To mark his 100th birthday, Captain Tom was honoured with a Royal Mail postmark, and a Great Western Railway train has been named after him. The occasion was also marked with an RAF flypast and birthday greetings from the Queen and the prime minister. He has also been made an honorary colonel.
His cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, together with singer Michael Ball, reached number one in the charts, making him the oldest artist ever to have a UK number one single.
There was also an emotional birthday greeting from Captain Tom’s daughter Lucy and her son who live here in Reading.
Pupils at Westfield Primary in York talked about the 99-year-old in their virtual assembly and were so inspired by him and his amazing challenge that they decided to make an animation using Lego to say thanks. Take a look at the amazing animation, complete with cotton wool hair and his famous walking frame – https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52373519.
So how will the £31m be spent?
The funds are going to the umbrella NHS organisation called NHS Charities Together, which supports more than 140 health service charities. Most of these are typically linked to specific hospitals or NHS trusts.
Most of the funds donated to NHS Charities Together are disseminated to charities to use at a local level, and that is where the kind of money raised by Captain Tom will be spent.
Our charity law expert, Jane Whitfield, was interviewed on local radio recently talking about what was involved in setting up a charity, and the duties of charity trustees in looking after and allocating funds raised for their charities.
Some of the donations to Captain Tom’s fundraising campaign have been used to help set up wellbeing spaces in hospitals.
The charity is also providing hospitals with “wellbeing packs”, which include everyday items such as porridge, tea or hand cream. These are then given to NHS frontline staff, which one charity member said was “like a hug in a box”.
The money has also helped pay for electronic tablets that allow patients who are in isolation in hospital to have contact with their friends and family.
In the long term, the funds will be used in planning to allow people to leave hospital quicker and safely, and also to provide mental health support for staff and volunteers involved in dealing with the pandemic.
As we look forward to when the current lockdown measures can be relaxed, there is no more fitting conclusion to this article than to quote Captain Tom himself:
“Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day.”
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