Captain Tom Moore spurs on St George’s scientists and doctors researching coronavirus
Published: 03 July 2020
When Captain Sir Thomas Moore began fundraising for the NHS in the run-up to his 100th birthday, he set a goal to raise £1,000. Two months on, a personal challenge which began as a family fundraising effort in a WhatsApp group has raised over £32 million for NHS Charities Together. Here, we share what inspired him to help healthcare workers, his future fundraising plans and why he supports our research efforts to tackle coronavirus.
Former British Army officer Captain Moore began plans to walk 100 lengths of his garden following a conversation with his niece at a family barbecue, where she pledged to give him £1 for every length of the garden he completed. A family WhatsApp group was set up to spread the word about his challenge, which was also shared with friends. Within one day, Captain Moore had already hit his target of £1,000. He had already reached £3,000 by day three, and his fundraiser quickly gained momentum.
Supporting frontline staff and helping them cope with the effects of the pandemic are top priorities for Captain Moore. The money he has raised has supported healthcare teams across the country, with dedicated areas created for hospital staff most impacted by treating Covid-19 patients to rest and recover. It has also helped establish a scheme to provide iPads to elderly patients being treated in hospital who cannot see family members face to face, so that they are able to connect with loved ones online. Funding will also continue to help staff wellbeing beyond the current crisis by supporting those dealing with the psychological impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
St George’s Medicine alumnus and great nephew of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, Dr Adam Briki, says, “Uncle Tom has always had an intense love for the NHS and thinks it is the best institution in the country. Everything he has done for the NHS comes back to supporting patients and staff. He remembers a time before the NHS and has lived through difficult times. He has the NHS to thank for two knee replacements and a hip replacement, and we are very grateful for the fast work of NHS staff to diagnose his mole as skin cancer and work diligently to treat it.”
Captain Moore has received a knighthood and been awarded Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his contribution to the NHS. He adds, “I was delighted to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London. And Adam was so proud to tell me that Edward Jenner also received this award. It seems wonderful to be given the same award as the father of the vaccinations!”
“Jenner stamped out smallpox and I have no doubt that this generation of researchers will beat this new virus with a new vaccine. And they will find it! Tomorrow will be a good day!"
Captain Moore was keen to acknowledge the work of researchers and frontline staff at St George’s University and Hospital – many of whom sent thank you cards for the money he had raised to support the NHS. He says, “We owe them so much. They put so much effort into their studies. My great Nephew Adam studied at St George's, and I know they are all working so hard there.
“Isn't it marvellous to see how the doctors and the scientists are coming together with universities to help research this terrible virus!”
Captain Tom continues to fight for causes dear to him, and has set up the Captain Tom Foundation to help combat old age loneliness and support hospices. Proceeds from the autobiography and children’s book he is writing will go towards these causes.