UK invites WW2 vet and Covid-19 fundraising hero Captain Tom Moore

Britain said goodbye on Saturday to Captain Tom Moore with a national television funeral for the 100-year-old war veteran who became a global hero for his extraordinary fundraising efforts during the pandemic.

Soldiers formed a guard of honor at the small ceremony that Moore’s family held at a crematorium in Bedford in central England.

Six soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment, the successor to the one Moore served in during World War II, carried his coffin, draped with Union Jack and his military cap and sword when 14 soldiers fired.

Later, a World War II plane would carry out a fly-past.

Moore died on February 2 after being treated for pneumonia and tested positive for Covid-19.

He raised nearly £ 33 million ($ 45 million, € 37.4 million) for charities by filling in 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday in April last year.

The image of the bent but brave veteran, leaning on his walking frame and rarely seen without shiny military service medals attached to his blazer and a regimental tie, was a rare good news story during a gloomy year.

Queen Elizabeth II rode him in the summer of 2020.

His death was marked by a nationwide pat with Prime Minister Boris Johnson attending and MPs bowing their heads in parliament.

His funeral was a more private affair and reflected his family’s wishes and antivirus restrictions.

Only his two daughters Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, four grandchildren and his sons-in-law attended.

Moore’s performance of “You Will Never Go Alone”, a charity single he recorded with Michael Ball, was played at the beginning of the ceremony.

He had asked for his epitaph to be “I told you I was old”, inspired by comedian Spike Milligan whose tombstone says “I said I was sick.”

His ashes were later buried in a family plot in his native Yorkshire in the north of England, with his parents and grandparents.

The family created an online book of condolences that collected thousands of messages.

“RIP captain Sir Tom. Truly a well-lived life and an inspiration to us all – shining a light on very dark days,” wrote Debbie Mather.

“Your courage and your determination to reach your goal and the money you raised for the NHS was incredible,” wrote Sandra Norbrun.

(AFP)