Captain Sir Tom Moore’s family said they felt “incredibly emotional” on what would have been the war veteran’s 101st birthday on Friday, but were pleased to see his legacy going strong as they launched a fundraising weekend in his honour.
The family kicked off the Captain Tom 100 Challenge at Lord’s cricket ground on Friday morning, encouraging people to raise money for charity by attempting feats based on the number 100.
“He genuinely thought he’d be here with us for his 101st birthday, so it has been really difficult. This morning was incredibly emotional,” said Moore’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore. “Back when we were talking about how we would celebrate his 101st birthday, he was around the table talking to us, so he is part of the challenge.”
Moore raised more than £38m for the NHS at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year through his goal of walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
Among the people taking part in the Captain Tom challenge this weekend are five-year-old Lewis Whele from Essex, who has cerebral palsy and will be aiming to walk 100 steps without using his sticks; Charlotte Reid, who has a brain tumour and will be travelling 100 lengths of Sidmouth seafront with her family; and eight-year-old Archie Tunstill, from Newmarket, who is spending 100 nights outside on his own with no tent.
“We wanted it to be something incredibly diverse, open to all, whether we’re locked down or not locked down, where people can pick up the number 100 and do anything. And we also wanted to take this opportunity to reignite the charity sector that’s suffered so much,” Ingram-Moore said. “So although we feel loss and grief, it’s completely wrapped in hope for the future, that lasting legacy he gave us.”
The family said they were “incredibly touched” by the outpouring of support from the public when Moore died in February. “Our five has gone to four, so we feel his loss incredibly. But knowing that we share that loss with the British public and people overseas, and the fact that people came out and showed their support and love for us as a family, was just absolutely incredible,” Ingram-Moore said.
She said the money her father raised for NHS Charities Together last year was being well spent on support and services such as sleeping pods and iPads for hospitals, and break shelters for NHS staff.