Captain Sir Tom Moore has achieved a lot of landmarks in the last six months. Global fame at the age of 100, a charity appeal that raised tens of millions, a number one single, book deals, and now an audience with the Queen.
Today, Captain Sir Tom will visit Windsor Castle to be knighted. It will be Her Majesty’s first official engagement with members of the public since lockdown began.
Royal investitures were put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, with those scheduled to take place at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in June and July postponed. But the Queen is making a special exception for Captain Sir Tom. “On occasion,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said this week, “the Queen invests individuals privately during audiences.”
“Captain Sir Tom Moore's knighthood was, exceptionally, announced individually by the Prime Minister, outside of the usual announcements of the Queen's Birthday Honours and the New Year Honours.
“Captain Sir Tom and his family were hopeful the investiture could take place in a timely fashion and we are pleased it has been possible on this occasion.”
It is, then, another first for one extraordinary man, who is having one extraordinary year. In recognition, let’s look back on some of those achievements in numbers...
The number of pounds Captain Sir Tom intended to raise before his 100th birthday, when, on 6th April, he started walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden in aid of NHS Charities Together.
The number of pounds Captain Sir Tom actually raised, after his story galvanised the public in Britain and abroad, turning him into a lockdown hero.
Days he set aside to complete his laps, between ever-increasing media appearances.
The size of one lap of his garden, in feet. Using a frame to steady himself, Captain Sir Tom motored around every morning.
The number of birthday cards Captain Sir Tom was reported to have received in April, when he turned 100
The number of copies Captain Sir Tom’s charity cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, recorded with musical theatre icon Michael Ball, sold in 48 hours.
The number of years between Captain Sir Tom and his main chart rival, Canadian singer The Weeknd. The Weeknd eventually told his fans to buy Captain Sir Tom’s record instead, all but sealing number one for the World War Two veteran.
The number of years between Captain Sir Tom and the next oldest person to score a number one in the UK. That was another Sir Tom, this time Jones, who went to the top of the charts with a Comic Relief cover of ‘Islands in the Stream’ in 2009.
The number of signatures a petition calling for Captain Sir Tom’s knighthood had gained by 20th April. They were duly granted their wish by the Prime Minister a month later.
Animals, at least, that were named after Captain Sir Tom. These included two horses and a police dog.
Medals Captain Sir Tom has been awarded. These are the Knight Bachelor, the 1939-1945 Star, the Burma Star, the Defence Medal, and the War Medal 1939-45.
Books we can look forward to Captain Sir Tom publishing later this year. One is a memoir, the other a children’s book about a very old man who walks around his garden for good causes.
- Read more: Captain Sir Tom's century