(LONDON) — Capt. Tom Moore, who fought in World War II, is again going to great lengths for his countrymen.
The 99-year-old British veteran has raised more than £7 million — almost $9 million — for U.K. health services battling COVID-19 by walking laps in his garden while under lockdown in Buckinghamshire, England.
Health Minister Matt Hancock began the government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday by giving a special mention to Moore.
“I want to pay a special tribute today to Capt. Tom Moore,” Hancock said. “At the age of 99, he’s raised over £7 million so far for NHS charities by completing 100 laps of his garden. Capt. Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you.”
Moore originally aimed to raise £1,000 for charity, but his online campaign, set up just last week, has exploded — he’s received donations from hundreds of thousands of people.
With the help of a walking frame with wheels, Moore began walking 82-foot laps, 10 laps per round, in hopes of completing 100 before he turned 100.
Moore has lived with his daughter’s family in Buckinghamshire England for 12 years since his wife died. His grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, shared with ABC News how much he values time with his grandfather and how Moore, who’s needed a walking aid since breaking a hip a year ago, couldn’t be slowed down.
“He was incredibly active,” Ingram-Moore said. “He drove his car until around a year ago, and did a lot of gardening.”
Moore still drove a tractor lawnmower across the 6-acre family garden until he turned 98.
The idea of walking around the garden as a fundraising effort came from a moment of inspiration among the family only a weekend ago.
“He’s been walking laps of our garden for a year, which is how we spotted it as an idea and a big opportunity to raise money,” Ingram-Moore continued. “To think we started with £1,000 and it’s now past £7 million — it’s incredible, I’ve stopped being able to describe it.”
Ingram-Moore said his grandfather’s fundraising campaign has sparked huge national media attention and that fielding calls and interviews has taken up much of the family’s time.
“This event has been amazing for us, helping us get through the lockdown,” he added. “My parents have 20,000 emails to reply to — we haven’t been off our laptops!”
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.