The nation’s hero Captain Tom Moore has been honoured on his 100th birthday with a special flypast over his home.
Appearing emotional, he watched the RAF flypast surrounded by family this morning – before he also became an honorary member of the England cricket team.
Special video birthday messages from the Prime Minister, his daughter and grandson were also shown in a touching morning of celebrations before he hit £30million in his record-breaking fundraising effort for the NHS.
Singer Michael Ball, who along with Captain Tom reached number one in the charts with a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, also sang Happy Birthday to him live on air.
Tom, who was also promoted to colonel by the Queen today, said: “Never ever three weeks ago did I ever think I would get anything like this.
“It’s difficult to put into words.”
In a birthday message he told the nation: “To have such kind people who have made such an effort – thank you all.”
Captain Tom’s grandson Benjie, 16, told the BBC: “It’s incredible – I’ve been so proud of him since I was three.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him as a person and the character he has shown throughout this.”
Captain Tom is celebrating his birthday today after raising nearly £30 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden.
Just three weeks ago he set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS – but his campaign grew and he became a global phenomenon.
His endeavours have won the hearts and admiration of the public at home and across the world.
A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane organised by the RAF marked Capt Moore’s birthday, and he has been appointed an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College.
“I really am honoured by that, it really is something special,” he said this morning.
He said he’s still “Captain Tom,” but if people choose to call him colonel then “thank you very much”.
Reflecting on what he has made of the worldwide reaction, Captain Tom said: “It’s hard to describe. There’s been so much kindness shown and so many people making kind remarks.
“It really is outstanding. I never, ever anticipated ever in my life anything like this. It really is amazing.
“I will say to everyone, thank you very much to everyone, wherever you are.”
He added: “When you see all those cards from children, it really makes you … well, if you were a weepy person it would make you weep.
“All the work and the thought all these children have put into their cards.”
He joked that he “can’t promise to read them all”.
Captain Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, added in a statement: “I want to look the great British and overseas public in the eye; I sincerely want you to know that for all the joy, hope and inspiration my father has given you; you have re-energised him and given him renewed purpose.
“Watching him talking and engaging with all of you, has been one of the most joyous things in my life. I cannot thank you enough.”
Captain Tom told BBC Breakfast this morning being 100 felt ‘the same’ but he was still delighted: “It hardly feels any different to yesterday.
“I don’t know what it feels like, I’ve never been 100 before.
“But I must say I’m absolutely delighted with all the people who have come to wish me a happy birthday and who have been so kind, thank you very much.”
Boris Johnson in a special message to him said: “I know I speak for the whole country when I say we wish you a very happy 100th birthday.
“Your heroic efforts have lifted the spirits of the entire nation.”
He added: “I recognise you as a point of light.”
Captain Tom said the message from the PM was “outstanding” and thanked him for the message.
Reflecting on Captain Tom, singer Michael Ball said: “It’s the most beautiful story in the most bleak of times, isn’t it?
“And he’s given us, as the Prime Minister said, a beacon of hope, a beacon of light. It’s wonderful.
“I’m so proud to be part of it.”
Ball told him: “You’re the only man who would get me into a smart shirt, tie and suit on a lockdown.
“I love the bones of you, sir, and thank you for letting me be part of this journey with you.”
Captain Tom congratulated Ball for wearing a shirt, adding: “I don’t always wear one but I think we do it very well together, looking like we do today.”
Ball joked that this would be the look they would go for on their “arena stadium tour”.
The colonel has also had letters from members of the royal family including Prince William, which he said he “never anticipated”.
He has had more than 120,000 birthday cards from members of the public.
Captain Tom has also been awarded a Defence Medal, after experts realised he was owed one decades ago.
It will now be added to the 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star and War Medal he wore on his walk, which also earned him a Pride of Britain Award.
The veteran, who was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, served with the 8th Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, which is now part of The Yorkshire Regiment.
So he could not be more delighted to be made honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate – calling it “one of the proudest moments of my life”.
He added: “The Yorkshire Regiment is one of the – if not the – greatest regiments, and I am overwhelmed. It’s absolutely super.”
Captain Tom has received birthday wishes from around the world.