The Lord Mayor of York, councillors, MPs, the Royal British Legion and NHS bosses praised the “wonderful” old soldier, whose fundraising efforts during the coronavirus pandemic have made him a national treasure.
As he prepared to read goodwill messages in some of the 125,000 birthday cards sent by well-wishers, Yorkshire-born Captain Tom told readers: “I am so deeply and sincerely grateful to the tremendous British public and especially the readers of the paper for their help. You have shown me so much love.
“When we started off with this exercise, we didn’t anticipate we’d get anything near that sort of money. It’s really amazing.”
Captain Tom, who hoped to raise a few thousand pounds for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, now holds the record for the largest sum ever raised by an individual charity walk.
Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Janet Looker, said most people approaching their 100th birthday might feel they deserved a restful time, being waited on and generally taking it easy.
“Not our wonderful Captain Tom!” she said. “Not only has he taken on a spectacular piece of fundraising, raising many millions for the NHS charities and opening Harrogate’s Nightingale Hospital, but he has done it with a smile, and a significant amount of physical effort.”
Denise Edgar, of the Royal British Legion, said Captain Tom had been an inspiration to millions worldwide, adding: “There are many parallels between the struggles of the Second World War and what we are going through today, and we look to Captain Tom Moore and all those from our Second World War generation to learn from their experiences.”
York Central MP Rachael Maskell said the amazing community response to Covid-19 with acts of kindness had been epitomised in Captain Tom, “who has inspired us all”, while York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said: “The determination and fellow-feeling he has shown epitomises the qualities of his inspirational wartime generation.”
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake said: “What he has achieved has been quite extraordinary and his determination to do what he can for the NHS has touched the hearts of millions of people.”
York council leader Keith Aspden said his spirit and determination had been “truly moving”, helping to inspire the nation, including thousands of volunteers in York, while deputy leader Andy D’Agorne said his determination had been “inspiring to us all”.
Simon Morritt, chief executive of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Thank you for supporting the NHS at this difficult and challenging time Tom.”
Captain Tom said: “The tremendous British public have shown me so much love. You have repurposed and re-energised me, and for that I will be forever grateful.”
But not as grateful as the millions who have taken hope and inspiration from your incredible achievement Captain Tom. Many happy returns.