Captain Tom Moore, Britain’s beloved walking hero, will become a knight after a special nomination from the nation’s prime minister, the BBC reported Wednesday. The knighthood comes after the veteran raised more than $40 million for the British National Health System.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed. Never for one moment could I have imagined I would be awarded with such a great honour. I’d like to thank Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Great British public. I will remain at your service,” Moore tweeted.
“This started as something small and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond. We must take this opportunity to recognise our frontline heroes of the National Health Service who put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe.”
Moore captured the hearts of many around the world when he set out to raise $1,200 for the British National Health System by his 100th birthday. To support healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Moore pledged to walk 100 laps in his garden each day for ten days, with the help of a walking frame. He quickly surpassed his goal as his fundraising efforts soared to the millions. By his 100th birthday, Moore’s charity walk had reached an astounding $40 million.
“Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement obtained by the BBC.
“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He’s a true national treasure,” the prime minister said.
On his milestone birthday, Moore received over 125,000 birthday cards from well wishers — including one from Queen Elizabeth II, who the Captain said he’s looking forward to meeting.
“I hope she’s not very heavy handed with the sword,” Moore said in an interview with BBC Breakfast.
A typical knighting ceremony involves the monarch tapping a knighting sword on the shoulders of a kneeling candidate. Moore lightheartedly said that he might need some assistance.
“How do I get down on one knee? Because if I get down I can’t get up… Maybe the queen will reach out her hand to give me a hand,” he said in an interview with Reuters.
The centenarian, who served during World War II, received an honorary promotion to Colonel in recognition for his efforts last month. He was also named an honorary member of the England cricket team.
This article is adapted from CBS News.