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99-year-old British WWII vet walks laps to raise astounding $33M for coronavirus relief

99-year-old British WWII vet raises millions for health workers
WATCH: Through walking up and down the length of his garden, 99-year-old Capt. Tom Moore and his daughter have helped raise more than 18 million pounds to support the staff and volunteers of the U.K.’s National Health Service.

What began as a modest way for a 99-year-old to stay fit became a whopping multi-million-dollar donation during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Captain Tom Moore, a veteran of the Second World War, broke his hip 18 months ago. In a bid to stay fit, his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, offered to pay him to walk lengths of their garden at his Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire home.

The garden loop is 25 metres long.

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“I told him, I’ll give you a pound for every length that you do and if you do 100 by your 100th birthday that’ll be 100 pounds,” Ingram-Moore, who lives with her father 80 kilometres north of London, told NBC News.

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Two weeks later, they raised over £19 million (CA$33 million) on his fundraising page, which was all donated to the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).

“I never dreamt I would be involved in such an occasion as this,” Moore told the BBC after his final lap, adding that the amount raised was “an absolute fantastic sum of money.”

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 more than 19 million pounds 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 more than 19 million pounds for the NHS. Getty Images

 

An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore, at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, north-west England on April 16, 2020.
An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore, at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, north-west England on April 16, 2020. Getty Images

As of Friday morning, his JustGiving fundraising page reached more than £19 million, 3,820 per cent higher than his original goal. The page even temporarily crashed given how many people were trying to donate, the BBC says.

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“We are absolutely floored by what has been achieved but we’re so happy, so humbled and so proud,” Ingram-Moore told the publication.

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“He’s a beacon of hope in dark times and I think we all need something like this to believe in and it’s for such an amazing cause.”

Even Prince William and Kate Middleton, who made an undisclosed donation, are fans.

“It’s amazing and what I love also is that he’s a 99-year-old war vet,” said Prince William in a special video message for Moore. “He’s been around a long time, he knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination.”

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“He’s a one-man fundraising machine and God knows what the final total will be. But good on him, and I hope it keeps going.”

A petition for him to receive a knighthood has been signed by more than 550,000 people.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca