Captain Tom is left 'completely overwhelmed' by thousands of cards

A sea of cards! Captain Tom is left ‘completely overwhelmed’ as he is sent cards from around the globe on the eve of his 100th birthday after raising more than £29m for the NHS

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Captain Tom has been left ‘completely overwhelmed’ after receiving thousands of cards from around the globe to mark his 100th birthday tomorrow. 

The inspirational World War II veteran captured hearts after raising more than £29 million for the NHS in the battle against coronavirus by doing laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire. 

Cpt Tom, 99, set out at the start of this month to raise £1,000 for NHS Communities – but a surge of support saw him smash his target.

After passing his initial goal in less than 24 hours, donations continued to pour in and the total surged to more than £29million.

Cpt Tom was inundated with support and praise after his incredible effort, with people around the world sending him birthday cards ahead of his 100th birthday tomorrow. 

It is unclear exactly how many cards he has been sent, though the number passed 120,000 a few days ago, with the cards kept at Bedford School near Cpt Tom’s home and his grandson Benjie helping to display them.  

Speaking today, he urged people to stay at home: ‘It is quite extraordinary that I am turning 100. It is even more extraordinary that I am doing so with this many well-wishers and I am in awe at the response my walking has had.

‘To everyone who has donated, sent birthday cards and messages, sincerely thank you.

‘Please stay home, stay safe. Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.’

Mandy Alison adds to the thousands of birthday cards sent to Captain Tom Moore for his 100th birthday on April 30. They are pictured displayed in the hall of Bedford School

Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS

The thousands of cards pictured on display at Bedford School, near Captain Tom’s home to mark his 100th birthday on Thursday

Thanking well-wishers, he added: ‘I am very comfortable and have everything I need. Covid-19 has left so many without, so please donate to those in need. Thank you.’

A family spokesman revealed that the veteran has been left ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the response to his fundraising effort. 

A statement said: ‘Captain Tom has been completely overwhelmed by the love he has received.

‘Like many other people during this pandemic, he is not able to spend his birthday with all of his loved ones.

‘Instead Tom is staying at home with his daughter Hannah and her family, who he has been self-isolating with.

‘They will all celebrate privately and will be joined by his daughter Lucy and her family though the use of technology.

Cpt Tom was given more than 120,000 birthday cards wishing him well and thanking him for his incredible fundraising feat. His grandson Benjie stands in the Great Hall of Bedford School surrounded by the cards

 Pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, have taken over from enthusiasts at Biggin Hill Restoration Hangar in Kent (pictured) for the flypast over Captain Tom Moore’s house in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire

‘Captain Tom will not be leaving his house at all and asks all local people, and those following his story, to stay at home and wish him Happy Birthday from afar.’

From Yorkshire to India: Captain Tom Moore’s career in the military

Captain Tom Moore was conscripted into the British Army in June 1940 when he was 20, alongside all men aged 20 to 35.  

He began his military career in Otley, West Yorkshire, where he joined the 8th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment under Lieutenant Lord George Saville.

The Regiment was sent to train in Wadebridge, Cornwall where they were tasked with coastal defence amid a predicted German invasion.

A young Captain Moore was soon promoted to Corporal and sent to the officer cadet training unit in Droitwich Spa.

Here, he celebrated his 21st birthday after he passed as a Second Lieutenant.

In August 1941, he was sent to the DWR headquarters in Halifax where he joined the 9th Battalion at Winchcombe.  

The infantry battalion then converted to an armoured regiment 146th Royal Armoured Corp, though the majority of the soldiers could not drive.

In October, the unit was posted to Bombay, now Mumbai, in India. The journey took six weeks by sea, with a four-day delay in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a four-day stop in Cape Town.

Captain Moore then took a train from Bombay to Poona, before arriving at Kirkee, a town now known as Khadki.

The 9th DWR formed the 50th Indian Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier Schreiber.

Captain Moore was then asked by the Brigadier to start a motorcycling course for the Brigade due to his expertise for the sport.    

The Brigade was then ordered to move to Calcutta – the road journey was in a monsoon and took three weeks. 

His Battalion was stationed in the Lohardaga district near Ranchi.

They then took part in two exercises in the Arakan before moving further east and south to Rangoon.

Captain Moore was then sent on a course at the approved vehicle depot in Bovington, England.

He remained here as an instructor until it was closed. 

As well as cards flooding in from all over the globe, Cpt Tom will get a Spitfire flypast to mark his 100th birthday on Thursday.

RAF pilots based at Coningsby in Lincolnshire are expected to soar past the veteran’s home for the incredible display including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters.

An MOD spokesman said: ‘Weather permitting, aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will complete a flypast to celebrate Captain Tom’s birthday and mark his amazing fundraising achievement.

‘The Great British public is encouraged to follow Captain Tom’s disciplined example and not gather to watch the flypast but continue following PHE guidelines on social distancing.’

The flypast is one of several ways Captain Tom’s birthday will be marked by supporters all over the nation. 

He will receive a personalised telegram from the Queen to go with the thousands of cards he has been sent. 

The cards are being held at Bedford School, attended by Cpt Moore’s 16-year-old grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore said: ‘It means a lot to grandad as well as us as a family. We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken grandad to its heart. Words can’t express how much I idolise him.’

A total of 140 volunteers including pupils, parents, teachers and alumni have been helping organise the lorry-loads of cards being delivered to wish Cpt Tom a happy 100th birthday.

Cpt Tom’s eldest daughter Lucy Teixeira said he had received at least a thousands gifts ‘of everything from chocolate and flowers’.

Speaking to the Sunday People, daughter Lucy said: ‘He is absolutely blown away and humbled by the support.’

She added she will be singing Happy Birthday to her father on BBC Breakfast on Thursday, saying: ‘And he will have cake – he loves cake.’

The Royal Mail started stamping all letters with a special postmark to celebrate ‘fundraising hero’ Captain Tom from yesterday.

Producers at BBC Breakfast worked alongside Buckingham Palace to organise the celebrations to mark the war hero’s big day on Thursday.

Tom – who currently holds the UK No1 single – will have the entire programme dedicated to his life and achievements.

Benjie Ingram-Moore said: ‘It means a lot to grandad as well as us as a family. We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken grandad to its heart. Words can’t express how much I idolise him.’ 

The Royal Mail started stamping all letters with a special postmark to celebrate ‘fundraising hero’ Captain Tom from yesterday.

A total of 140 volunteers including pupils, parents, teachers and alumni have been helping organise the lorry-loads of cards being delivered to wish Cpt Tom a happy 100th birthday.

A TV insider told The Sun that the team on Breakfast have been working with the palace on organising the telegram in time for the morning broadcast which they hope will come with a special message from Her Majesty.

The source said: ‘It’s going to be a really emotional day and they want to make it as memorable as possible for Tom by way of thanks for all he has done.

‘They’re lining up lots of surprises for him too. What Tom has achieved is the most incredible feat and the whole show will be dedicated to Tom and his special day.’ 

Richard Frediani, editor of BBC Breakfast, said plans were still be confirmed but added: ‘Having followed Captain Tom’s incredible story from the start the UK’s most watched morning show will make sure the nation can safely come together to celebrate Captain Tom’s 100th birthday on Thursday morning on BBC Breakfast.’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among the voices praising Cpt Moore for his incredible fundraiser, with Prince William hailing the Second World War veteran as a ‘one-man fundraising machine’.

He added: ‘He’s been around a long time, he knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and determination.’ 

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