Veterans

Public Joins National Clap For Captain Sir Tom Moore

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the applause was to "show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in".

The public has joined in a national clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore and healthcare workers.

Boris Johnson called on the nation to "show our appreciation" at 6pm Wednesday evening for the 100-year-old NHS fundraiser who died on Tuesday morning after contracting coronavirus.

Captain Sir Tom's family said they are “incredibly touched” by the gesture.

The Second World War veteran became a national treasure after raising more than £32m for the health service last year.

WATCH: Junior soldiers from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate join in the national clap on Wednesday evening. The Second World War veteran was made Honorary Colonel of the college back in April to mark his 100th birthday. 

A woman from south Wales had initially suggested a clap in his honour on Friday evening, saying she "will make sure he is never forgotten".

Hannah-Jayne King had set up a Facebook campaign to pay tribute to him at the end of the week.

Following the announcement a clap would take place on Wednesday evening, Ms King said she would applaud on both days, and release a helium balloon in Captain Sir Tom’s memory on Friday evening.

Ms King also arranged a clap for the Second World War veteran in April last year, observed by thousands around the globe.

She also runs a Facebook group called Clap for Colonel Tom which has more than 30,000 members.

Ms King has raised money for the NHS with several tributes to Sir Tom, including the selling of memorial stickers, and raffle tickets for a life-sized woodcarving of the veteran.

The House of Commons observed a minute’s silence in memory of Capt Sir Tom and others who have lost their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Johnson told the Commons: "We all now have the opportunity to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in.

"That is why I encourage everyone to join in a national clap for Captain Tom and all those health workers for whom he raised money at 6pm this evening."

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: "His dignity and determination in raising money to support the NHS charities caught the nation’s mood at the most difficult time.

"He exemplified the best of our values."

Tributes have continued to be paid to the Army veteran since his death. 

Capt Sir Tom, who raised millions by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April last year, had only set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together – but his efforts struck a chord with the nation and donations flooded in.

His charm and kindness helped boost the morale of the nation that had been facing its darkest days since the Second World War.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Capt Sir Tom's contribution to the NHS will be formally marked.

Asked whether a statue might be built "in possibly his home town or where he was born or in London", Mr Hancock told LBC: "Yes, I do think that we should find a way, at the right time, to honour the contribution that he made to the NHS and he was an inspiration to so many people."

Boris Johnson echoed the sentiment during a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, saying: “On the issue of a statue, a public memorial of some kind… I’m absolutely, of course, open to that.

“We will be working with his family to see what they feel is most appropriate and taking that forward.”

TV presenter Nick Knowles has suggested a permanent statue on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, saying an image of the fundraising veteran swathed in the Union flag would be a "constant reminder of positivity" for the nation.

Fellow presenter Carol Vorderman told Good Morning Britain that Capt Sir Tom "deserves a stone in Westminster Abbey", saying he "embodies this whole terrible pandemic which we are all living through".

Cover image: Captain Sir Tom Moore at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate (Picture: MOD).