HEROIC Captain Tom Moore becomes a Sir after inspiring the nation by raising £33 million for the NHS.
Boris Johnson personally recommended the “national treasure” to the Queen for the knighthood. The Prime Minister hailed the war veteran, who had already been made an honorary colonel, for providing the country with a “beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus”.
He said: “Colonel Toms fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.
“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. Hes a true national treasure.”
Sir Tom Moore set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden by his 100th birthday last month.
But he captured the heart of the nation at the darkest point of the coronavirus crisis and sparked a giving frenzy and the Daily Express had called for him to be honoured.
The £33 million he has raised for the health service charities has set a Guinness World Record and the money is already being spent on improving life for patients and staff.
Sir Tom has recently been treated for a broken hip and skin cancer but continued to walk laps as the money continued to flood in.
He also released a charity single, You’ll Never Walk Alone, with singer Michael Ball, which reached number one in the charts, making him the oldest artist ever to have a UK number one single.
Throughout the crisis he has repeatedly urged the public to remember “tomorrow will be a good day”.
The Queen has approved the knighthood and it will be formally announced tomorrow.
Born in Keighly, West Yorkshire, he enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (8 DWR), an infantry unit that was converted to operate Churchill tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).
In 1940 he was selected for officer training and rose to the rank of captain, later being posted to 9 DWR in India.
He served and fought in the Arakan in western Burma, since renamed Rakhine State, and went with his regiment to Sumatra after the Japanese surrender.
After the war he returned to the UK and worked as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington, Dorset.
Sir Tom lived in Kent for many years before moving to Bedfordshire to be with his family in 2007.
His 100th birthday on April 30 was marked by a flypast of a Spitfire and Hurricane from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “On behalf of the Labour Party, I congratulate Captain Tom Moore on his knighthood.
“In these difficult times for our country, Tom brought inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS.
“After serving his country during the war, Tom recognised that todays heroes are our frontline NHS and care workers.
“In his actions, Tom embodied the national solidarity which has grown throughout this crisis, and showed us that everyone can play their part in helping build a better future.”
Ministers are expected to set out details soon on how heroes on the coronavirus frontline will be honoured and how the public can play their part.
A Government spokesman said: “We know there is huge appetite to say thank you to all those supporting the nation during this emergency and doing incredible things day in, day out, up and down the country.
“We will ensure these unsung heroes are recognised in the right way, at the right time.”
Under Ministry of Defence protocol, his official title will be Captain Sir Thomas Moore.