Captain Tom Moore

Captain Tom Moore: RAF Flypast Confirmed For Army Veteran's 100th Birthday

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which includes six Spitfires, is said to be organising the birthday flypast.

Captain Tom Moore

Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday on Thursday will be marked by a Royal Air Force flypast.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced on Twitter that the aerial salute was "meant to be a surprise for Tom", but confirmed it would be happening after it emerged that his department rejected an earlier plan for a flypast organised by a Spitfire restoration company.

Captain Tom has raised £29 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden ahead of his birthday.

The British Army veteran has also since become the oldest ever person to have a UK number one single, with a rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' with Michael Ball.

The song is one of the ways the war veteran has been raising money for NHS Charities Together to thank the "magnificent" staff who recently treated him for a broken hip and cancer. 

Captain Tom's fundraising efforts have lead to calls for him to be knighted, while he was recently given a Pride of Britain award.

Kent’s Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar had organised a birthday flypast for Captain Tom involving a Mark 9 Spitfire named The Spirit Of Kent.

However, on Monday it revealed it had been denied permission for the flight by the Department for Transport, acknowledging that "current general aviation restrictions are in place to prevent non-essential travel".

The firm said the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), which is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and includes six Spitfires, is “not bound by the same restrictions”.

It added: "It is our understanding that they are now picking up the baton to provide a flypast for Captain Tom.

"Getting a Spitfire overhead for Captain Tom was always the primary goal and we’re thrilled that this may still be possible.

"We wish the BBMF team the very best of luck and hope that the weather permits a flypast on the 30th of April."

Mr Shapps wrote on Twitter that the RAF flypast means Captain Tom will be honoured "in an even more significant way".

An MOD spokesperson said: "Weather permitting, aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will complete a flypast to celebrate Captain Tom’s birthday and mark his amazing fundraising achievement.

"The Great British public is encouraged to follow Captain Tom’s disciplined example and not gather to watch the flypast but continue following PHE [Public Health England] guidelines on social distancing."

Birthday cards for Captain Tom Moore at Bedford School
Birthday cards sent to Captain Tom Moore at a school in Bedfordshire (Picture: PA).

A school in Bedfordshire has been flooded with more than 125,000 cards from well-wishers across the globe for Captain Tom’s birthday.

Famous names including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Dame Kelly Holmes and England football captain Harry Kane were among those to send cards to Bedford School, where Captain Tom’s grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, is a pupil.

Benjie turned to his school for help when he learned that the post office was being swamped with cards.

The 16-year-old said: "The volume of cards that have been sent to Grandad is just astonishing.

"So many of the cards are truly heartfelt, with thousands from young children who have taken the time to use their artistic talent and write a personal message.

“Another £60,000 has been generously donated via his birthday cards.

"It means a lot to Grandad as well as us as a family.

"We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken Grandad to its heart.

"Words can’t express how much I idolise him."

Captain Tom was originally planning to mark his centenary with a family party but the celebrations have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 140 members of school staff, parents and pupils past and present spent 1,750 hours opening each card and creating a display in Bedford School’s Great Hall.

In another tribute to Captain Tom, all mail sent from Monday will be stamped with a special postmark in his honour.