A 100-year-old British World War II veteran has been tapped for knighthood after he undertook a campaign to help front-line workers of the U.K.’s National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic and raised more than £32 million ($40 million).
Capt. Tom Moore — who raised the funds by taking laps around his back garden with the help of his walker — received a special nomination from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and was approved for knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, according to the popular centenarian’s website.
Moore told the BBC that he’s not sure when the knighting ceremony will take place, adding that he hopes the Queen “is not very heavy-handed with the sword, as by then I might be a rather poor old weak soul.”
“I am certainly delighted and overawed by the fact this has happened to me,” Moore said. “I thought this can’t be true; I’ve always said this won’t happen, and it appears it actually has.”
Johnson tweeted a “huge thank you” to Moore on Wednesday, saying that he has “inspired us all” with the fundraising efforts.
Moore is a “true national treasure” whose fundraising campaign “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus,” Johnson said in a Downing Street news release.
The knighthood news comes weeks after the British Army promoted Moore to the rank of honorary colonel on April 30, his 100th birthday. His official title will be Capt. Sir Thomas Moore, under the protocols set by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence, the BBC reports.
Moore served with the British Army in Burma (now called Myanmar) and India during World War II.
Moore’s initial goal was to raise £1,000 ($1,200) before his 100th birthday by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine, England. The funds were meant for NHS Charities Together, which supports the health and emotional well-being of the country’s health care workers.
In the end, Moore’s campaign raised £32,794,701, or more than $40 million.
In a Wednesday tweet, Moore thanked the Queen, the prime minister and the public of Great Britain for the honor.
“I will remain at your service,” Moore tweeted.
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