LONDON: Four months after capturing the nation’s heart, Captain Sir Tom Moore expressed his disbelief as he was knight by the Queen, saying: “No one could ever have believed that it would happen to me.”
The Second World War veteran became a national hero by raising almost £33 million for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, the Queen dubbed him a knight with her father’s sword during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle.
The 100-year-old former Army officer was also joined by his family for the event held in the castle’s quadrangle.
After the ceremony, Sir Tom reflected on the journey that has taken him from local fundraiser to a knighthood.
He said: “When you think that about four months ago I was just Tom Moore, now I’m Sir Tom Moore, no one could ever have believed that, in that time it would happen to me.
“I’ve been really honoured that this should happen and I’m thrilled that it did happen, and thank you everyone who subscribed to the fund – I really appreciate it and thank you all very much.”
It comes as the Queen has been shielding at her famous Berkshire home for much of the lockdown with the Duke of Edinburgh.
The event was her first face-to-face royal engagement with a member of the public since March – albeit with social distancing.
Sir Tom had set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire before his 100th birthday on April 30. But his efforts struck a chord with national feeling, and praise and donations flooded in.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the veteran “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus” and recommended he be knighted.