2021-01-31 23:22:38 | Captain Tom, Who Raised Millions for U.K. Health Workers, Is Hospitalized

Story by: Marie FazioThe New York Times World News

Tom Moore, the centenarian who captured the attention of the British public in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic by raising $40 million for the National Health Service, was hospitalized with the virus on Sunday, his daughter said.

Mr. Moore had been treated for pneumonia in recent weeks and tested positive for the coronavirus last week, Hannah Ingram-Moore said in a statement on Twitter. He was taken to a hospital because he needed help with his breathing, she said, but he was not in the intensive care unit.

Mr. Moore is a decorated British Army veteran who served in India and Burma, now known as Myanmar, in World War II. He became a national hero after he completed 100 laps of an 82-foot walk on the brick patio next to his garden in Marston Moretaine, a quiet village an hour north of London, to raise money for the National Health Service in Britain.

The laps, which Mr. Moore completed 50 meters at a time while gripping his walker and wearing a blazer adorned with military medals, quickly caught the attention of Britain’s public and its news media, which nicknamed him Captain Tom. He raised 32.8 million pounds, or $40 million, for the N.H.S. through an online charity service and drew praise from people around the world. Prince William, who contributed an undisclosed sum to the campaign, called him a “one-man fund-raising machine.”

News of Mr. Moore’s illness came days after Britain surpassed 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. The country’s response to the pandemic has been filled with delays, reversals and mixed messages, most recently in the struggle to contain a fast-spreading variant of the virus.

Even so, Britain’s pace of vaccination is the fastest of any large nation in the world. Nearly eight million people, or 11.7 percent of the population, have already received their first dose of vaccine.

Ms. Ingram-Moore did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Moore’s family told the BBC that he had not yet been vaccinated because of the medication he was taking for his pneumonia.

“My thoughts are very much with @CaptainTomMoore and his family,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter. “You’ve inspired the whole nation, and I know we are all wishing you a full recovery.”

After his fund-raising success, Mr. Moore became a widely celebrated symbol of hope in a dark time.

Capitalizing on his newfound celebrity status, Mr. Moore founded the Captain Tom Foundation, a registered charity that aims to address loneliness and inspire hope.

In September, he published an autobiography, “Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day,” which appeared on the Sunday Times of London best-seller list, and a children’s picture book, “One Hundred Steps.” And at one point, he had the No. 1 song in Britain with a duet of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which he recorded with the English singer Michael Ball and the N.H.S. Voices of Care Choir.

In an interview with The New York Times last year, Mr. Moore drew comparisons between the beleaguered health workers fighting the coronavirus and the soldiers who won World War II.

“At that time, the people my age, we were fighting on the front line and the general public was standing behind us,” Mr. Moore said. “In this instance, the doctors and nurses and all the medical people, they’re the front line. It’s up to my generation to back them up, just as we were backed up.”

Queen Elizabeth II, who worked as a driver and truck mechanic during the war, knighted Mr. Moore in July.

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Source References:The New York Times World News

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