Captain Tom Moore completed 100 laps in his backyard garden in honor of his 100th birthday on April 30

By Joelle Goldstein
April 16, 2020 04:15 PM
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A 99-year-old British war veteran is raising millions of dollars for the healthcare workers in the United Kingdom — one lap at a time.

Ahead of his 100th birthday on April 30, Captain Tom Moore vowed to raise money for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) by walking 100 laps in his backyard garden, according to his JustGiving fundraising page.

With assistance from his walker, Moore completed his goal two weeks early, officially finishing his 100th lap on Thursday, which was documented by BBC One’s morning news show, Breakfast.

By Thursday, Moore had also marked another incredible accomplishment: raising over £15.4 million (approximately $19 million) for the cause.

“It’s been the most incredible and emotional day for me,” he wrote on his Twitter page, which is run by his 16-year-old grandson Benji, according to CNN. “Thank you to everyone that has helped with this amazing cause.”

Tom Moore British veteran raises millions for NHS by walking lengths of back garden, Marston Moretaine, United Kingdom - 16 Apr 2020
Captain Tom Moore
| Credit: VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Moore initially set out to support the “fantastic NHS workers” — whom his family called “national heroes” on his JustGiving page — on April 9 and explained that he would walk 10 laps per day, which were each a distance of 25 meters (approximately 82 feet).

Within 24 hours, the war vet had managed to hit his target goal of £1,000 (approximately $1,245) and his family decided to raise the number to £100,000 (approximately $124,521), according to the fundraising page.

Then, after another 24 hours, Moore’s team said his supporters helped exceed that goal too, which led them to “set the bar higher” at £250,000 ($311,303).

Tom Moore British veteran raises millions for NHS by walking lengths of back garden, Marston Moretaine, United Kingdom - 16 Apr 2020
Captain Tom Moore
| Credit: VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

As the days passed and the donations poured in, Moore kept walking laps while his family decided to make the target goal even higher.

On April 12, they declared on the fundraising page that he was aiming to hit £500,000 (approximately $622,607) — and two days later, they shattered that goal with over a million pounds in donations.

“We are so thrilled and so glad to be able to unite our country at such a sad time and all for our incredible NHS,” his family wrote after the amazing accomplishment. “Tom would like to thank all of you, from the bottom of his heart.”

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, four days later, Moore officially completed his 100th lap.

After crossing the finish line to a celebration of balloons, family, and saluting soldiers, he told the host of Breakfast, “[I feel] fine! I’m surrounded by the right sort of people… and I hope you’re all feeling fine too.”

Tom Moore British veteran raises millions for NHS by walking lengths of back garden, Marston Moretaine, United Kingdom - 16 Apr 2020
Captain Tom Moore with his grandson Benji, daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore (center) and granddaughter Georgia
| Credit: VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Later, he spoke to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain and expressed his gratitude for the support he’s received.

“It’s unbelievable the sum of money that’s been raised so quickly from some super people,” Moore told the hosts. “It just shows that we’re generous and thoughtful people throughout the country.”

“It’s for a super purpose,” he added of NHS, whose staff has been tirelessly caring for the COVID-19 patients in the U.K. “All our doctors and nurses and all the back-up people deserve everything we can give them.”

Moore also vowed to continue his efforts on his Twitter page, writing, “Today I completed my final 10 laps, and although the mission is complete – I am going to keep on going.”

Born in Keighley, Yorkshire, Moore attended Keighley Grammar School before earning an apprenticeship as a civil engineer, according to his JustGiving page. At the beginning of World War II, he was enlisted in the 8 DWR (145 RAC) of the British army.

He was later selected for officer training in 1940 and went on to serve in India, Indonesia and England, the page notes.

After his wife Pamela died in 2006, Moore moved in with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, her husband and their two children in Bedfordshire, CNN reported.

Despite living with them, his daughter told the outlet that Moore is independent and takes care of himself, often making his own meals. “He’s stoic, humorous, steady as a rock and positive,” Hannah explained to CNN of her father.

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Recently, she said, the war vet underwent a partial hip replacement. This prompted Moore to take up daily exercise, which is where their idea for the 100-lap challenge first came about, Hannah explained.

“He always believes that tomorrow is a better day, which is his new hashtag [on Twitter], and is how we were brought up,” she told the outlet. “He’s a hard worker.”

Moore also told Good Morning Britain: “I really stand for the goodness we’re all getting at the moment… I always think that things will be good. We’ve done so well with our country. We’ve fought so many battles and we’ve always won and this time we’re going to win again.”

As of Monday afternoon, there have been at least 2 million cases and 136,573 deaths attributed to coronavirus worldwide, according to the New York Times. In the U.K., at least 103,093 cases and 13,729 deaths have been reported, according to the Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.