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‘He was a beacon of hope’: UK’s coronavirus hero Captain Tom Moore dies at the age of 100

Liz Lees, chief nurse with the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said it had been an “immense privilege” to care for Sir Tom at Bedford Hospital.

“We share our deepest condolences and sympathies with his family and loved ones at this incredibly sad time,” Lees said.

“We’d also like to say thank you, and pay tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore for the remarkable contribution he has made to the NHS.”

Sir Tom became an unlikely hero during Britain’s first wave of the pandemic when he set out to raise £1000 for the NHS by pledging to walk 100 laps of his garden with his walking frame by the time he turned 100.

He went to raise nearly £33 million as the fundraiser – combined with his optimism – captivated the world.

Sir Tom later became the oldest artist to claim number one on the UK singles charts with a recording of You’ll Never Walk Alone that he recorded with the musical theatre star Michael Ball.

The Captain Tom Foundation said staff were “heartbroken.”

“As well as uniting the nation and giving hope when it was needed most he has been our beacon of light every single day,” the foundation said in a statement.

“He was so passionate about the foundation’s vision for a more hopeful world and equal society and was immensely proud of the growing legacy it was establishing in his name.”

“Thank you Captain Sir Tom. Because of you tomorrow will be a good day for so many more.”

The Union flag above Downing Street was lowered to half-mast as tributes poured in.

The Queen, who knighted Sir Tom last year, is sending a private message of condolence to Sir Tom’s family, Buckingham Palace said.

“Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Cpt Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year,” a spokesperson said.

Captain Tom Moore was knighthood by the Queen at Windsor Castle on July 17 last year.

Captain Tom Moore was knighthood by the Queen at Windsor Castle on July 17 last year.Credit:AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Captain Tom was a “hero in the truest sense of the word.”

“In the dark days of the Second World War he fought for freedom and in the face of this country’s deepest post-war crisis he united us all, he cheered us all up, and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit,” Johnson said in a statement.

“It is astonishing that at the age of 100 he raised more than £32 million for the NHS, and so gave countless others their own chance to thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us through the pandemic.

“He became not just a national inspiration but a beacon of hope for the world. Our thoughts are with his daughter Hannah and all his family.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said Britain had “lost a hero.”

“This is incredibly sad news. Captain Tom Moore put others first at a time of national crisis and was a beacon of hope for millions,” Starmer said.

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