Tributes to 'heroic' Captain Tom, following his death aged 100

Tributes to 'heroic' Captain Tom, following his death aged 100

Second World War veteran, fundraiser and author Captain Sir Tom Moore has died after contracting coronavirus and pneumonia.

Captain Sir Tom Moore rose to fame last year after raising more than £32m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, and he went on to publish both a memoir and children's book with Penguin Random House UK.

He was taken to Bedford Hospital on Sunday (31st January), requiring help with his breathing after being treated for pneumonia and testing positive for coronavirus, and died aged 100 on Tuesday (2nd February).

His daughters, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, said in a statement that he died with family at his bedside. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," they said. "We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, [and Moore's grandchildren] Benjie and Georgia by his bedside, and Lucy on FaceTime. We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

"The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he had only ever dreamed of.

"While he had been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever."

Moore published his memoir, Tomorrow Will be a Good Day, on 17th September with Michael Joseph and a children's book, One Hundred Steps, on 1st October with Puffin, respectively selling 134,465 copies and 29,231 copies through Nielsen BookScan's TCM in the UK. The deal for world rights, struck between Penguin Random House and Bev James Management, followed a number of pitches from competing publishers, with three adult publishing houses vying to publish Moore's memoirs from Penguin Random House's stables alone. 

Rowland White, publishing director at Penguin Michael Joseph, said it had been an "honour and privilege" to publish Moore, saluting the veteran as someone who "reminded us of who we were, who we wanted to be, and how we wanted to be seen".

"When, as the first Covid lockdown bit, we felt anxious, uncertain and frightened, Captain Tom stepped up to give us something to believe in. In the end, he gave his all to our battle against the virus," said White.

"In later life, the friends Tom lost during the Second World War were never far from his thoughts. They made the ultimate sacrifice in a righteous fight for freedom. Since then, the whole country has held on tight to their example. They represented the best of us. And so, when we next faced a similarly daunting threat to our lives, loves and livelihoods, it seems like no coincidence that we should have turned once more to a veteran of that titanic struggle to help see us through.

"Modest, stoic, determined, down to earth and always ready with a smile, Tom reminded us of who we were, who we wanted to be, and how we wanted to be seen. His last battle against a terrible enemy was no less heroic than his first. Captain Tom, we salute you. It was our honour and privilege to be your publisher."

Francesca Dow, managing director at Penguin Random House Children’s, also paid tribute. "Captain Sir Tom Moore brought courage and hope to families and to children across the nation and showed what was possible when we come together and never, ever give up," she said. "It has been a privilege to publish him, and we look forward to continuing to inspire children with his story which shows that everyone can make a difference: every little step counts. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time."

Born in 1920, Moore spent his childhood in the foothills of the Yorkshire Dales and during the Second World War he served in India and Myanmar. He holds the Guinness World Record for the largest sum ever rasied by an individual for a charity walk, for which he was knighted for his fundraising efforts. He also set up the Captain Tom Foundation, supporting causes close to his heart such as combating loneliness, championing education and supporting the NHS.