The funeral of Captain Sir Tom Moore will be held on Saturday in what his family said would be a ‘small’ private service as they urged the public to stay at home.
The NHS fundraising hero’s daughters Lucy Teixeira and Hannah Ingram-Moore said today that they had ‘no choice’ but to hold a basic ceremony for family only.
They added that Captain Tom had openly spoken about his funeral over the past year and had wondered if ‘perhaps the interest in him over the last 12 months would mean we would need to have more Victoria sponge cakes available for the extra guests’.
He captured the hearts of Britain with his fundraising during the first lockdown when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday.
The Second World War veteran, who raised more than £32million for NHS Charities Together, died at Bedford Hospital on February 2 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden in April last year
Captain Tom is pictured in Barbados last December with (from left) grandchildren Benjie and Georgia, their mother Hannah, who is Captain Tom’s daughter and father Colin Ingram-Moore
Captain Tom’s family said they understood that so many people wanted to pay their respects, but urged the public to ‘continue to support the NHS by staying at home’.
They added that they had set up an online book of condolence and people could also donate to The Captain Tom Foundation or plant a tree in his memory.
Captain Tom’s family said he had also spent ‘many enjoyable hours’ in the final few months of his life writing a book called Captain Tom’s Life Lessons.
He wanted to release this just before his 101th birthday, but his relatives said the final chapter was ‘so poignant and reading it brings us so much comfort and warmth’.
They are therefore sharing the last chapter ‘as a thank you, from our father Tom and us as a family, for the love and kindness the nation and the world have shown him’.
Captain Tom is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on July 17 last year
The Queen talks to Captain Sir Tom Moore and his family after he was knighted last July
Shortly after his death earlier this month, Ms Teixeira said Captain Tom would have a ‘quiet’ send-off and the family was planning an understated funeral that would be ‘suitable’ for him.
How Sir Captain Tom’s heroic actions boosted Britain amid lockdown
Sir Captain Tom Moore hoped to raise £1,000 for the NHS, but ended up capturing the hearts of Britain. Here’s how 100 laps around his garden turned into a knighthood:
April 2020 The army veteran begins fundraising in the hope of raising £1,000 for the NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic. He wants to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on April 30.
April 14 More than £2million is donated.
April 15 The total rises to £7million as more than 340,000 people show their support.
April 16 He completes his 100 laps – meaning he walked an average of six laps a day – and reveals he’s going to keep going to raise as much as possible. Both the Prime Minister and the Royal Family congratulate him.
April 24 Sir Captain Tom is the oldest person ever to reach Number One in the Top 40 Charts with his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone. He performs it alongside singer Michael Ball and The NHS Voices of Care Choir.
April 30 The fundraising page hits £32million on his 100th birthday. He is made an honorary colonel and enjoys a military flypast.
July 17 The Queen awards him a knighthood in a special engagement.
September He writes bestselling autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day and signs a deal to film a biopic of his life.
October 5 – Captain Tom starts a podcast to tackle isolation among Britain’s elderly.
December He ticks a holiday to Barbados off his bucket list.
January 31, 2021 He is admitted to hospital amid an intense battle with pneumonia, his family reveal.
February 2, 2021 Sir Captain Tom’s death is announced days after he tests positive for coronavirus.
She said at the time: ‘At the moment, my sister Hannah and I are planning a careful send-off that is suitable to him, quite quiet in a manner that he would say to us “well done, girls”.
‘I know that there are things being talked about, but my sister and I are focussing on planning the next stage and celebrating the end of his life.’
Last week, Mrs Ingram-Moore revealed the family received a ‘lovely letter for the Queen’ following his death, adding that the monarch felt ‘genuine loss’.
She said the Queen and her father were ‘two similar souls’ and would have probably had ;a cup of tea and had a good chin wag’ after he was knighted last year, if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
Buckingham Palace paid a personal tribute following his death, with a spokesman saying the Queen’s thoughts were with his family – and the flag at Number 10 was lowered to half-mast.
Captain Tom, from Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, was knighted by the 94-year-old Queen in a unique outdoor ceremony at Windsor Castle on July 17.
As well as being knighted, Captain Tom was made an honorary colonel and an honorary member of the England cricket team.
Mrs Ingram-Moore also said last week how Captain Tom’s heart would have been ‘broken’ to hear about trolling the family received.
Speaking about her father’s days in hospital and their final family holiday to the Caribbean, she said she could not tell her father ‘people are hating us’ after his mammoth fundraising efforts.
She told BBC Breakfast: ‘I couldn’t tell him. I think it would have broken his heart, honestly, if we’d said to him people are hating us.
‘Because how do you rationalise to a 100-year-old man that something so incredibly good can attract such horror?
‘So we contained it within the four of us and we said we wouldn’t play to … that vile minority, we wouldn’t play to them, we’re not, because we are talking to the massive majority of people who we connect with.’
Mrs Ingram-Moore also said her father had wanted to come home to steak and chips after he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
She said: ‘I said to him in the last few days: ‘So, what do you want to eat when you come home?’ And we decided it was steak and chips.
‘He was really excited about coming out for steak and chips and getting his frame back outside and his walker.
‘The last real conversation was positive and about carrying on, and that’s a lovely place to be.’
Captain Tom and his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore at home in Bedfordshire last April
Mrs Ingram-Moore said that when Captain Tom went into hospital, the family ‘really all believed he’d come back out’.
‘We thought the oxygen would help, that he would be robust enough, (but) the truth is he just wasn’t. He was old and he just couldn’t fight it,’ she added.
Before he died, the centenarian got to tick a holiday in the Caribbean off his bucket list when the family travelled to Barbados just before Christmas.
‘It was just amazing,’ Mrs Ingram-Moore said. ‘He sat in 29 degrees outside, he read two novels, he read the newspapers every day, and we sat and we talked as a family, we went to restaurants (because we could there) and he ate fish on the beach and what a wonderful thing to do. I think we were all so pleased we managed to give him that.’
‘We have no choice but to hold a small family funeral’: Full family statement on Captain Tom’s funeral
A statement issued on behalf of his daughters Lucy Teixeira and Hannah Ingram-Moore said: ‘Over the past year our father spoke openly about his death and his funeral, and had wondered out-loud if perhaps the interest in him over the last 12 months would mean we would need to have more Victoria sponge cakes available for the extra guests.
‘Sadly, like so many other families affected by the pandemic, we have no choice but to hold a small family funeral, which will take place this Saturday. Whilst we understand so many people wish to pay their respects to our father, we ask that the public and the press continue to support the NHS by staying at home.
‘We have been contacted by so many people asking what they can do to honour our father, so we have set up an online book of condolence. People can also donate The Captain Tom Foundation, plant a tree in his memory or donate to a charity of your choice.
‘In the last few months of his life, our father had spent many enjoyable hours writing a book he chose to call Captain Tom’s Life Lessons, which he planned to release just before his 101st birthday. Sadly, he’ll never get to share this with you personally.
‘The final chapter is so poignant and reading it brings us so much comfort and warmth, so we share the last chapter now as a thank you, from our father Tom and us as a family, for the love and kindness the nation and the world have shown him.’