UK pandemic hero battling COVID-19

 

Captain Sir Tom Moore, the 100-year-old hero of Britain's pandemic who inspired the world with his $57 million fundraiser, is in hospital battling COVID-19.

Prayers were being poured out across the UK for the Second World War veteran, who raised the incredible sum by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday during last year's lockdown.

His determination even caught the eye of the Queen, who gave him a knighthood in the grounds of Windsor Castle in what was one of the most poignant moments of the pandemic.

The socially distanced outdoor ceremony in July 2020 was the Queen's first public event since the outbreak began.

Sir Tom's daughter Hannah broke the news of his illness on Monday morning, revealing that he had been treated for pneumonia for several weeks but had now contracted COVID-19.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself spent weeks in hospital with the bug last April, wished Sir Tom a quick recovery.

"My thoughts are very much with @CaptainTomMoore and his family. You've inspired the whole nation, and I know we are all wishing you a full recovery," he said on Twitter.

Sir Tom started out last year hoping to raise $1800, but his story captured global attention.

His illness has rocked Britain, and comes as the union has been battling a deadly second wave that has been putting hospitals under significant pressure.

His daughter Hannah said that while Sir Tom was ill, he was not in intensive care.

"He was at home with us until today when he needed additional help with his breathing," she said in a statement.

"He is being treated in a ward although he is not in ICU."

 

 

 

Sir Tom was being cared for at Bedford Hospital, an hour north of London, and not far from Bletchley Park where codebreakers helped end the Second World War.

"The medical care he has received in the last few weeks has been remarkable and we know that the wonderful staff at Bedford Hospital will do all they can to make him comfortable and hopefully return home as soon as possible," Hannah said.

"We understand that everyone will be wishing him well. We are of course focusing on my father and will update you when we are able to."

Sir Tom became one of the most famous people in Britain after his knighthood.

A book has been written about his life and he hit number one on the music charts with a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone, which was recorded with Michael Ball and the National Health Service choir.

The inspiring song, which is also a tune made famous on the terraces of the Liverpool Football Club during matches, helped lift a veil of gloom that had covered the UK, which has been the hardest hit country in Europe by coronavirus.

He also became a cover star on GQ magazine, significantly raising the average age of cover models on the glossy men's magazine.

 

 

His illness comes after he spent time in Barbados in December after British Airways flew him there for free in recognition of his service to his country.

Sir Tom revealed the secret to his life in an interview with the Sunday Times in December.

"I felt younger rather than older when my grandchildren were born. That's because I still remember what it feels like to be young," he said.

"I cook my own dinner, always something mushy, and we eat together. Teenagers are not easy, but old people aren't easy either: the trick is to keep your mouth shut, even when you're right.

"I don't know what 100 is meant to feel like, but I don't feel very old inside. I don't sleep well, but I'm sure it will get better because things generally do."

Sir Tom received more than 150,000 cards for his 100th birthday, which was on April 6, 2020.

Some 100 of those cards were donated to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, just south of Cambridge.

The museum also has an exhibition about the Burma campaign, where Sir Tom served during World War Two.

That battle was often overlooked among the general population because of the devastation in Europe, and the final days of the war in Japan.

The cards were also put on display at his grandson's school, filling its gym, extraordinary pictures showed.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as UK pandemic hero battling COVID-19



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