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Captain Sir Tom Moore: tributes paid by family at funeral

Molly Blackall
·4 min read

The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore paid tribute to the war veteran who raised tens of millions of pounds for the NHS during the first coronavirus lockdown, as he was laid to rest in a funeral broadcast to the nation.

Speaking at the private service in Bedfordshire crematorium, Moore’s family said that his “message and his spirit lives on”.

Moore died this month aged 100, after testing positive for coronavirus. Under lockdown restrictions, his funeral was attended by just eight members of his family – his two daughters Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, four grandchildren and his sons-in-law.

Related: Captain Sir Tom Moore obituary

“Daddy, you always told us ‘best foot forward’ and true to your word that’s what you did last year, raising a fortune for the NHS and walking your way into the nation’s hearts,” Teixeira said.

Ingram-Moore said the world had been “enthralled” by her father’s spirit of hope.

“We have been so close as a family before this but we were thrust even closer together as the world became enthralled by your spirit of hope, positivity and resilience,” she said. “They too saw your belief in kindness and the fundamental goodness of the human spirit.”

Members of the public were asked to stay at home during the funeral, but thousands of people signed an online book of condolences, for veteran who raised more than £32m for the NHS – or almost £39m including gift aid payments.

Six soldiers from the Yorkshire regiment acted as pallbearers for his coffin, which was draped with a union flag and adorned with a replica of his service cap from the second world war, a wreath from the Yorkshire Regiment.

A specially commissioned sword was also laid on his coffin, engraved with the motto of the Yorkshire Regiment on one side: “Fortune favours the brave”, and his personal motto: “Tomorrow will be a good day” on the other.

Related: Captain Sir Tom Moore – in pictures

Six representatives from Harrogate’s Army Foundation College, where Moore was made an honorary colonel, formed a ceremonial guard at Bedfordshire crematorium, and a firing squad of 14 fired three rounds in unison before the ceremony began.

A second world war plane, with the markings of D-day on its wings, flew overhead.

The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said the armed force were “immensely proud to contribute to the celebration of his extraordinary life of service”.

“In national emergencies ordinary people do extraordinary things and inspire us all to pull together to overcome adversity,” he said. “Few will have heard of Sir Tom before this crisis but his contribution and example now lives on in us all.”

The ceremony opened with Moore’s chart-topping charity single, You’ll Never Walk Alone, which he recorded with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir and made him the oldest person to achieve a number one in the UK.

Later, Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime song The White Cliffs Of Dover was played, alongside a version of the song Smile specially recorded by Michael Bublé for the occasion. I Vow To Thee My Country by Alfie Boe and My Way by Frank Sinatra were also played, in music chosen by Moore and his grandson.

The celebrant conducting the funeral read the poem A Happy Man by Edwin Arlington Robinson, which features the words: “Children that I leave behind, and their children, all were kind; near to them and to my wife; I was happy all my life.”

A bugler sounded the Last Post at the end of the service.

Once restrictions permit, the family will inter Moore’s ashes in Yorkshire, with his parents and grandparents in the Moore family plot. As he wanted, Moore’s epitaph reads “I told you I was old”, in reference to comedian Spike Milligan’s famous epitaph “I told you I was ill”.

The celebration of Moore’s life continued outside of the ceremony.

In Keighley, where Moore was born, the deputy lord lieutenant of West Yorkshire, David Pearson, laid a wreath of 200 white roses on behalf of the Queen. Moore was knighted by the Queen during an open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer last year.

Residents in the village of Marston Moretaine, where Moore lived, stood outside their homes to applaud him as the hearse was driven past. Many lampposts were adorned with red ribbons in remembrance of the 100-year-old war veteran.