Coronavirus: Captain Tom, 99-year old veteran, raises $15 million for UK NHS
Captain Tom, a 99-year old British veteran, completed 100 laps of his garden on Thursday, raising 12.2 million British pounds ($15.24 million) for the UK's state-run National Health Service (NHS) as it battles the coronavirus pandemic.
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Tom Moore had aimed to raise just £1,000 by walking around his garden in Bedfordshire, southern England, 100 times.
However, his fundraiser caught the imagination of the nation, with donations massively exceeding his initial goal. According to the BBC, more than 450,000 people from around the world have donated money to the fundraising page since it was set up last week.
“Every penny that we get, they [the NHS] deserve every one of it,” he told the BBC, speaking as the total surpassed the £5 million mark.
Tom’s daughter also told the BBC that the family were “humbled, floored and proud.”
“It [has been] beyond our wildest expectations, no words can express our gratitude to the British public for getting behind Tom,” said Hannah Ingram-Moore.
The UK government acknowledged Moore’s efforts and thanked him.
“I want to pay a special tribute today to Captain Tom Moore,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock at a press conference earlier on Thursday.
“Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you,” he added.
Captain Tom Moore has raised 12.3 million pounds for the NHS. He’s 99.— Vittoria Gallagher (@Vitt2tsnoc) April 16, 2020
He’s served his country in all possible ways, and is still doing so. Puts us all to shame. If you want to put a thank you in the window, don’t forget to thank him, too. #TomMoore #100laps #ThankYou
The current Conservative government has been widely accused of underfunding the NHS since it came to power in 2010. The health service has been struggling to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus, which has killed more than 12,000 people.
UK residents have been donating to the service in a variety of fundraisers, including a popular challenge to run 5 kilometers and donate £5.