Capt. Tom Moore, WWII vet whose walk cheered UK, dies at 100

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FILE - In this Friday, July 17, 2020 file photo, Captain Sir Thomas Moore poses for the media after receiving his knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth, during a ceremony at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England. Tom Moore, the 100-year-old World War II veteran who captivated the British public in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic with his fundraising efforts, has died, Tuesday Feb. 2, 2021. (Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP, File)

LONDON – Capt. Tom Moore, the World War II veteran who walked into the hearts of a nation in lockdown as he shuffled up and down his garden to raise money for health care workers, has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 100.

His family announced his death on Twitter, posting a picture of him behind his walker in a happy moment, ready for an adventure.

“The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of,’’ the family’s statement said. “Whilst he’d 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.’’

Captain Tom, as he became known in newspaper headlines and TV interviews, set out to raise 1,000 pounds for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his backyard. But his quest went viral and caught the imagination of millions stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic. Donations poured in from across Britain and as far away as the United States and Japan, raising some 33 million pounds ($40 million).

For three weeks in April, fans were greeted with daily videos of Captain Tom, stooped with age, doggedly pushing his walker in the garden. But it was his sunny attitude during a dark moment that inspired people to look beyond illness and loss.

“Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day,” Moore said in an interview during his walk, uttering the words that became his trademark.

When Captain Tom finished his 100th lap on April 16, a military honor guard lined the path. The celebration continued on his birthday a few days later, when two World War II-era fighter planes flew overhead in tribute. Moore, a plaid blanket over his shoulders, pumped a fist as they roared past.

In July, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in a socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London. The 94-year-old monarch used an impossibly long sword to confer the honor as Moore, wearing his wartime medals on his chest, leaned on his walker, beamed and became Sir Tom.