CAPTAIN Tom Moore is to be knighted for his inspirational 100th birthday walk that raised £39million for the NHS.
The 100 year-old World War Two veteran‘s knighthood was announced by Downing Street on Monday night.
It was approved by the Queen, having been personally recommended and fast-tracked by the Prime Minister.
The gong is the first of dozens for the heroes of the debilitating crisis, HOAR can also reveal.
The Government is to issue a special honours list in the Autumn to recognize everyone who has performed with distinction through out it.
It is expected to be dominated by NHS staff, and the public will be able to nominate specific individuals who cared for them.
Captain Tom was left flabbergasted by his knighthood, which he only learned about on Monday afternoon.
He described himself as “absolutely overwhelmed” by it.
Tom said: “Never for one moment could I have imagined to be awarded with such a great honour.
“I’d like to thank Her Majesty the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Great British public.
“I will remain at your service.
“This started as something small and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond.”
The Burma vet added: “We must take this opportunity to recognise our frontline heroes of the National Health Service who put their lives at risk everyday to keep us safe.”
The news was broken to Tom by his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, who he is isolating with at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.
Hannah was told in a phone call from the PM’s most senior official, his Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds.
The centurion won the hearts of a nation after vowing to walk 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden to raise money for the NHS.
His initial fundraising target was £1,000,
After his plea for sponsorship went viral, the former infantry officer ended up reaping an extraordinary £33m in donations – a Guinness World Record sum.
Boris Johnson ordered the high honour to be fast tracked, having promised to win him recognition for cheering the nation during the coronavirus crisis’s darkest moments.
Tom was also promoted to the honorary rank of colonel to mark VE Day two weeks ago after celebrating his 100th birthday last month.
Announcing the award, the PM – who learned of Tom’s efforts from his own coronavirus hospital bed – said: “Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.
“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you.
“He’s a true national treasure.”
A Government spokesperson added: “We know there is huge appetite to say thank you to all those supporting the nation during this emergency and doing incredible things day in, day out, up and down the country.
“We will ensure these unsung heroes are recognised in the right way, at the right time.”
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer also added his congratulations, saying: “In these difficult times for our country, Tom brought inspiration to millions and helped all of us to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our NHS.
“After serving his country during the war, Tom recognised that today’s heroes are our frontline NHS and care workers.
“In his actions, Tom embodied the national solidarity which has grown throughout this crisis, and showed us that everyone can play their part in helping build a better future.”
Tom will be formally known as Captain Sir Thomas Moore after he is knighted.
Under MoD protocol, he will use his Army rank rather than his honorary colonel title. But his investiture ceremony is expected to have to wait until next year.
Two metre social distancing restrictions make it impossible for the Queen or members of her family to carry them out while the order is in place.