How Captain Tom Moore restored British values – Tom Richmond

TO simply describe Captain Tom Moore as a charity fundraiser does a great disservice to the 99-year-old who has raised approaching £30m for NHS charities by walking round his garden 100 times to mark the centenary of his birth.
Read More
Why our Captain Tom Moore deserves NHS hospital honour – The Yorkshire Post says

This nonagenarian, more than any other political figure, has also helped to rekindle British values after the bitterness of Brexit and restore national pride during the Covid crisis.

Two weeks ago, he was little known in Yorkshire – his county of birth. Now Captain Moore, Captain Tom, Captain Marvel, Sir Tom, Our Tom – you choose – is a global phenomenon thanks to his humility and humanity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden - raising nearly £25m for the NHS.99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden - raising nearly £25m for the NHS.
99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden - raising nearly £25m for the NHS.

The Greatest Living Yorkshireman? There’s a case to be made. He makes the words ‘thank you’ seem so hopelessly inadequate as the number of UK hospital deaths from Covid-19 approaches 20,000 – another depressing landmark.

And it is why Captain Moore will need no introduction when he opens – via video link – the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate after the Army, and others, converted its conference centre into a field hospital for Covid patients.

What an honour for Captain Moore – and all those who began this project at the start of the month just as the Keighley-born pensioner started his own endeavour to thank the NHS for treating him for cancer and broken hip.

Little did he – or them – realise that 
it would culminate in today’s occasion that will also be a celebration of stubbornness, stoicism, courage and charity, Yorkshire’s four defining traits. I salute them all.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
One of Graeme Bandeira's tributes to Captain Tom Moore.One of Graeme Bandeira's tributes to Captain Tom Moore.
One of Graeme Bandeira's tributes to Captain Tom Moore.

From the Archbishop of York to Betty Boothroyd OM, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, with their tributes in today’s newspaper, there is recognition that we will be blessed – with the aid of digital communications – by the presence of greatness at today’s event.

As Archbishop John Sentamu notes, this “brave son of Yorkshire” has “unleashed a tidal wave of gratitude and generosity to our amazing NHS workers”.

Baroness Boothroyd goes further: “He has done more to raise public morale than all the bluster from members of Boris Johnson’s beleaguered Cabinet. Tom wears his fame lightly but the public knows the genuine article when they see it.”

But it is Captain Moore’s unerringly reassuring words – “the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away” – on completing his walk that so strengthened Britain’s bonds of community as the lockdown was being extended.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
This tribute by Graeme Bandeira appeared in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday.This tribute by Graeme Bandeira appeared in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday.
This tribute by Graeme Bandeira appeared in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday. | JPIMedia

Such wisdom stems from this national hero’s own military service in India and Burma when he lost his comrades in the name of freedom. This was – and remains – the greatest generation.

It is also striking that he believes he is in the debt of the NHS when we will be always in his debt. “I have fought during a war and they are now fighting in a war too,” he said when his Harrogate ‘honour’ was announced.

Captain Moore’s example – and gentle reminder of human decency – has also provided a means for people to make a contribution to the NHS as part of the national effort as others look to make the most of their circumstances to raise money. He added: “I think the amount raised demonstrates just how much we all value the dedication and sacrifices made by our NHS workers.”

It does – and it is why there will be a public backlash if the Government, once the pandemic passes, backtracks on any of its pre-election NHS promises, notably the 40 new hospitals that it pledged.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s why the first permanent hospital to be built in Yorkshire must be named the Sir Tom Moore Infirmary – that undertaking can be made here and now.

It’s why every NHS and volunteer should become recipients of a medal depicting nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, born in 1820, on one side, and Captain Moore on the other.

And it’s why the Queen should dispense with protocol and confirm Captain Moore’s knighthood on April 30 – the date of his 100th birthday. Her Majesty should pull rank over civil servants and courtiers by making a very personal announcement on behalf of her grateful nation.

For, just as Dame Vera Lynn, and the Royal family, inspired the country during the Second World War, Captain Tom Moore has captured the public’s imagination in this ‘war’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Not only this, but his persistence has reminded us what it means to be British after years of destabilising political division – quiet perseverance, fortified by some priceless Yorkshire grit, and a humbling compassion for others.

Now, to paraphrase the lyrics of You’ll Never Walk Alone that has turned our Captain into an unlikely pop star, Britain can again hold its “head up high” – he’s reminded us how to – and families can “walk on, walk on” with hope in their hearts. Even in the most troubling and traumatic of times.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.