CAPTAIN Tom’s proud granddaughter dresses up as her hero Grandpa to the mark the first anniversary of his incredible £40million walk.
Georgia Ingram-Moore, 12, donned her grandad’s famous navy blazer with his World War II medals, a fake moustache, grey wig and a walking frame.
It is exactly a year ago that a 99-year-old man no one had heard of set off to walk 100 laps of the garden by the time of his 100th birthday on April 30.
Two months ago Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised an astonishing £39.9million for the NHS with his walk, died from Covid, aged 100.
Today, his family are launching another charity fundraising event in his honour – The Captain Tom 100.
Captain Tom’s daughter Hannah, 50, says: “Of course we are sad, we feel sorrow, we really do, but he wouldn’t want us to sit here and feel sorry would he? What he’d want us to feel is hope.
“When we were talking about his hundred and first birthday, he absolutely believed he would still be here for it.
“In the hospital in his last few days he always thought he would come out. When he was being wheeled through from one place to the other he would say to the nurses and to me, 'I'll be back out fundraising. We have got this big party to be organising, this big celebration, so I will be back.'
“He wanted me to go out and place a bet that he was going to live to 103. I never managed it because of time and the difficulty of just getting outside.
“Even when we were in hospital at the end he was still asking me, 'Have you placed that bet yet?'
“It is probably my deepest regret that he is not here but I can do nothing about that. What we can do is deliver something sensational on his birthday.
“My father was so proud to have made it to 100 and so much happened in that year that he was one hundred. It’s a great number, so we felt compelled to keep it.
“One hundred is synonymous with him around the world so it had to be 100.”
New 100 challenge for all
On April 30 – which is at the start of the May spring Bank Holiday weekend – people all over the world are being encouraged to do a challenge involving the number 100 to raise money for the Captain Tom Foundation or a charity of your choice.
Hannah explains: “He loved the coast. Build 100 sandcastles, or jump over 100 waves.
“Knit a hundred lines. He would really have liked to do make 100 Victoria Sponge cakes. Or 100 cups of tea.
“Or do 100 keepy-uppies. Or 100 hops. Dream up your 100 challenge. We know people will do some incredible things.”
On April 30, Hannah, Georgia and son Benjie, 17, will walk 100 times up and down the brick path at the home in Marston Moretaine, Beds, that Captain Tom made famous all over the world last year.
'Dad was super happy even at the end'
The three of them were with Captain Tom in Bedford hospital when he passed away peacefully on February 2 after catching Covid.
Hannah says: “We just had laughter because Benjie and George were there. We were laughing about one of the pictures they had shown him and he was just super happy.
“It wasn't really so much about the words it was the emotion. I said to the children you know Grandpa feels really happy and he feels really safe.
“You need to just stay with him now. And we did. And it was lovely for them because they felt so close to him. And of course Georgia had never lived without him. She was born after he moved in here.”
Two months after Captain Tom’s death, as we on the patio sit in the sunshine just like on that day that the family challenged him to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps before his birthday, there are reminders of him everywhere.
A metal bench made in Captain Tom’s honour, one of the many wheeled walking frames sent by manufacturers, the famous Grandpa’s fixing shed that the children talked about in their tributes at his funeral and the running machine he ordered on his iPad.
Hannah says: “We still have 25 packets of Hobnobs in the cupboard that no one else eats plus bars and bars of Cadbury's Milk Chocolate because he snuck them away in his room and, to the children's delight bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta.”
More than 500 letters a week still arrive, though some are now addressed to Hannah, Captain Tom’s daughter, England. Many are from children he has inspired or have read the kids’ books he wrote in his 100th year.
As we chat, Hannah reveals that the man known to the world as Captain Tom was reluctant to use his military title.
She says: “When I was writing a press release for the local media I said ‘by the way we will have to call you Captain. And he said, ‘You can't call me Captain, I am retired’."
Captain Tom was a man who could talk to the world, because he was 100 years old, because he was a veteran.
His uncle was on the stage as a comedian so he had funny bones but, as well as wit and humour, most of all he had a connection to humanity because he was a soulful person. He was kind and believed in the fundamental goodness of the human spirit.
“When we took him out the waves would part. People would hand him their babies. They just wanted to get close," says Hannah.
“And that has never stopped. I went to close his bank account a few weeks ago and as I went in the chicane with my mask on, people were crying. 'Oh it is so sad, Captain Tom ….'
“So, I stopped and said, my father wouldn’t want us to be sitting here weeping about him. He would want us to be joyful and hopeful. It’s going to be all right in the end. Tomorrow will be a good day.'
“As soon as I said it the energy in the room shifted to one of ‘phew – we feel happy’. It’s like the air crackles with emotion when I talk about him and his legacy.
“I think he made it quite cool to be British again. He made it quite cool to wear medals again.
“He made the Union flag quite cool again and he allowed us to feel pride in Britain.”
Captain Tom’s Life Lessons
Before he died, Captain Tom left another legacy – his tips for a happy life. Here in an exclusive extract he reveals how Dame Vera Lynn inspired him to keep smiling through setbacks.
By Captain Sir Tom Moore
DAME Vera Lynn died at the age of 103 just after I started my walk, but not before she’d sent me a message congratulating me and wishing me luck.
Movingly, her letter arrived on 18 June 2020, the day she left us. I will always treasure it.
Like her, I’ve always been a happy little soul and never one to complain or feel sorry for myself.
I learned that there’s always a bright side to a bad event if you look hard enough for it. The best example of this by far for me is the immense good that has come out of my fall. That was the biggest surprise of all, because tripping and breaking my hip in 2018 almost did for me and marked the beginning of what will become my inevitable end.
Yet, if I hadn’t tripped over my feet that day then I wouldn’t have needed to set out on my little therapeutic walk at all. And if I hadn’t managed that, then none of the remarkable events that followed would have occurred.
Instead, millions of pounds were raised for NHS charities which in turn seemed to boost the spirits of the nation and all because I was unlucky enough to take a tumble.
I firmly believe that we will all emerge from these viral times to find ourselves living in a better world because of the outstanding, life- changing consequences of people’s effort to be positive. Even with multiple and often unforeseen setbacks, we need to keep smiling through and continue to count our blessings every day.
When forced to focus on the important things in life, millions around the world discovered what we of a certain age have often taken a lifetime to find out – that all that really matters are the people who make you smile.
None of us know what’s around the corner and it might just be something magnificent. As I have discovered in my long life, things usually turn out all right in the end.
For more info go to www.captaintom100.com
- Captain Tom’s Life Lessons by Captain Sir Tom Moore is published by Michael Joseph.
Source: Read Full Article