A 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than £12m for the NHS by walking around his garden says he will keep going while people continue to donate.
Captain Tom Moore, who turns 100 at the end of the month, has smashed his original target to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire garden.
And donations are continuing to pour in from people wanting to support front line NHS workers fighting the coronavirus.
Speaking to Sky News during a break from his walks, Captain Moore said: “We set out originally to raise a little bit of money by me walking up and down 100 times in reference to my 100th birthday.
“But if I’ve done the 100 by tomorrow, I’ll have to continue past my birthday, which won’t matter because I’ll continue walking while people are contributing money to a marvellous fund for the NHS.
“With this invisible enemy that we’ve got, we’ve all got to look forward to the future when we’ve beaten this enemy.
“Whatever people think, we shall get better. Things will be better tomorrow.”
He added: “We set out to raise £1,000 and we did it but we never anticipated this sort of money which really is absolutely awesome… it really is outstanding.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock paid tribute to Mr Moore at the government’s daily Downing Street news conference, calling him “an inspiration to us all”.
After hearing the remarks, Mr Moore told Sky News: “I was absolutely amazed that somebody like him would talk to me.
“I mean he is such an important person in our government and for him to make a reference to me is great.”
After attracting the attention of media from around the world, the Second World War veteran thanked those from overseas who have got in touch with him, saying: “I’m so thankful to them that they’re all helping because there is this invisible enemy that we’re all suffering from.”
Originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, Mr Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army for the Second World War, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma.
His daughter Hannah said her father had become a “global beacon of hope” in his fund-raising efforts.
“[It’s] not exactly what we set out to do but we’re now sharing this with the whole world – this is the world’s story, not ours,” she said.
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Mr Moore’s grandson Benji told Sky News: “It’s incredible. The support we’ve had across the country, and now America and France, its been amazing.
“I’ve been speechless all week and its got to a point where I genuinely have no words.
“I’m so proud of him – I’ve lived with him practically my whole life, I wouldn’t know anything without him and it’s just been incredible – I can’t say anything else.”
The number of donations to Mr Moore’s JustGiving page has risen at breakneck speed over recent days and during his interview with Sky News, more than £50,000 was donated alone.
Donations to NHS Charities Together can be made at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs