Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among a host of well-wishers across Britain willing record-breaking fundraiser Captain Tom Moore to pull through after the centenarian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
Moore, who raised almost 40 million pounds ($55 million) by walking 100 lengths of his garden during last year’s lockdown, was admitted to hospital after testing positive for the virus, his daughter said on Sunday.
“You’ve inspired the whole nation, and I know we are all wishing you a full recovery,” Johnson said on Twitter, adding his thoughts were with Moore and his family.
The World War Two veteran caught the public’s imagination in April, just before his 100th birthday, when he was filmed doing his sponsored walk with the help of a walking frame around his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine, north of London.
He hoped to raise 1,000 pounds. Instead, he raised more than 33 million pounds ($45 million) for the National Health Service, broke two Guinness world records, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, scored a No. 1 single, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity.
“Pray for Tom”, the Sun tabloid’s front page headline said, a message echoed by other papers who also carried prominent pictures and stories about Moore.
His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, said on Sunday that over the last few weeks her father had been treated for pneumonia, and last week tested positive for COVID-19.
“He was at home with us until today when he needed additional help with his breathing. He is being treated in a ward, although he is not in ICU (intensive care unit),” she said on Twitter.
Britain is currently vaccinating all its elderly population against the coronavirus, but Sky News quoted a family representative as saying Moore had not yet received a shot because he was being treated for pneumonia.
Messages of support had come in from the likes of the England soccer team and Michael Ball, with whom he joined to record a number one single with a cover version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
“Captain Tom has been such an inspiration for the country in some of the really dark times we’ve had, he’s really lifted our spirits,” junior health minister Helen Whately told Sky News on Monday. “I really just wish him well, I really hope he pulls through.”