How would you describe Sir Captain Tom Moore? A national treasure? A hero? An Inspiration? All these words (and more) have become synonymous with the man that managed to bring the nation together by walking laps of the garden. When you hear his name, you smile a little don’t you?
Whilst we were amid lockdown and a global pandemic, he was the ray of light that reminded us that better days were coming. It is amazing to think that what started as a little bet with his family, as he started walking laps of the garden after recovering from a fall, quickly gained so much momentum.
Sir Tom became a household name, almost overnight, because quite simply his story helped us get through some of the darkest days our country has ever faced.
Whilst we were all aware of his astonishing feat of raising so much money for the NHS, it was not until I read his autobiography, that I learned more about how he had spent his life. His days of navigating around the Yorkshire moors, and his love for motorbikes inherited from his much-loved Uncle Billy, had stood him in good stead for serving in the war.
His knowledge of engines and his ability to read maps led him to be assigned roles such as a Motorcycle Trainer for the dispatch riders and the Regimental and Brigade Navigator.
Ultimately, it was his understanding of machines that meant he was sent back to the UK, from where he had been serving in India and Burma. He was ordered to learn more about the new tanks, that were being introduced, so he could train up his comrades.
Sir Tom really did give so much throughout his life. He came across as a selfless, caring person, who simply wanted to make the world a better place.
He talks in his autobiography about the importance of kindness, saying: ‘There is always room for global expansion in kindness. It’s so important to have respect and compassion for others.’
He showed this compassion to others, by signing up to the Keighley Round Table, after the war. Here he was responsible for setting up the Keighley Disabled Club. After seeing the struggles his deaf father had faced throughout this life, he wanted to create a safe place where those who felt isolated due to their disabilities could meet.
More recently his family aided him in setting up The Captain Tom Foundation. Throughout his life, Tom had seen how many of his family and friends had battled with loneliness, illness and mental health issues, including his late wife Pamela who had suffered from dementia and depression.
He wanted his foundation to ‘give hope where it’s needed most,’ which seems ever more fitting in a world where people’s well being is being hugely affected by the pandemic.
Captain Tom’s positive mindset was also what we all needed at the height of the pandemic. It was his upbeat disposition, which saw him secure a place in the nations’ hearts and shine a light in the dark.
This mentality was something he had carried with him throughout his life, explaining in his autobiography that ‘I couldn’t have got through my life if I didn’t think things would get better, and they did.’
Moore quotes a line from a favourite Vera Lynn song, called ‘Look for the Silver Lining’ which goes: ‘Whenever a cloud appears in the blue, remember somewhere the sun is shining.’
He was a man with a strong mind, giving us the advice ‘to build resilience through optimism.’ With his sayings such as ‘tomorrow will be a good day’ emblazoned across the media and trending on Twitter, he became the poster boy of positivity and provided us all with the hope that we needed.
He further spread his positivity when he partnered with Michael Ball to release a version of ‘You’ll never Walk Alone’ which shot straight to number one and bagged him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the UK’s oldest artist to have a No.1 Single.
This anthem, which for many years has provided words of reassurance, could not have been a better fit for a man who had not only walked around the garden with the support of a nation behind him but provided us all with his optimism and comforting words.
In many years, future students will be learning about the horrors of a pandemic, that shook the world, but it fills me with joy that they will also learn about the legend that was Sir Tom.
He lives on, in the immense amount of money that he raised for the NHS, for the continued support his foundation gives to those in need, and through the positive mindset that ‘the clouds will go away.’
Even when talking about death Captain Sir Tom Moore’s positivity never faltered. The last words of his autobiography continue to be optimistic; ‘Even if tomorrow is my last day, if all those I loved are waiting for me then that will be a good day too.’
Rest in Peace Sir Captain Tom Moore. We will always remember to look for the silver linings.