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British WWII veteran who raised millions in pandemic effort dies of COVID at 100

Capt. Tom Moore, the World War II veteran who walked into the hearts of a nation in lockdown as he shuffled up and down his garden to raise money for British healthcare workers, has died after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was 100.

His family announces Moore’s death Tuesday in a tweet with his photo, noting that his death was in 2021.

Captain Tom, as he became known in newspaper headlines and TV interviews, set out to raise 1,000 pounds for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his backyard. But his quest went viral and caught the imagination of millions stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic. Donations poured in from across Britain and as far away as the United States and Japan, raising some 33 million pounds ($40 million).

Tom Moore, a British veteran who started a campaign to thank the National Health Service by walking lengths in his garden.(Moore Family via AP)

For three weeks in April, fans were greeted with daily videos of Captain Tom, stooped with age, doggedly pushing his walker in the garden. But it was his sunny attitude during a dark moment that inspired people to look beyond illness and loss.

“Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day,” Moore said in an interview during his walk, uttering the words that became his trademark.

When Captain Tom finished his 100th lap on April 16, a military honor guard lined the path. The celebration continued on his 100th birthday a few days later, when two World War II-era fighter planes flew overhead in tribute. Moore, a plaid blanket over his shoulders, pumped a fist as they roared past.

In July, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II during a socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London. The 94-year-old monarch used an impossibly long sword to confer the honor as Moore, wearing his wartime medals on his chest, leaned on his walker and beamed.

“I have been overwhelmed by the many honors I have received over the past weeks, but there is simply nothing that can compare to this,″ he tweeted after the ceremony. “I am overwhelmed with pride and joy.”

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