Fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore has been knighted by the Queen in a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran raised almost £33m for health service charities by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden during the coronavirus lockdown.
He was joined by family members for an unprecedented personal investiture staged in the castle’s quadrangle – instead of indoors at Buckingham Palace – on Friday.
Ahead of the ceremony, Captain Tom said on his official Twitter account: “It is going to be the most special of days for me.”
The 94-year-old Queen has been staying at Windsor during the coronavirus pandemic for her safety, but carried out the official engagement in person – her first since lockdown.
While other ceremonies due to be held at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh have been postponed because of the pandemic, an exception was made for Captain Tom.
Buckingham Palace believes it is the first time the “unique” format of his ceremony will have taken place, amid the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and Downing Street’s announcement of Moore’s individual knighthood.
The Queen used the sword that belonged to her father, King George VI, and presented Captain Tom with the insignia of Knight Bachelor.
Buckingham Palace said the investiture will follow strict social distancing rules.
Captain Tom was joined for the ceremony, which cannot be viewed by the public, by his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram, grandson Benji and granddaughter Georgia.
Who is Captain Tom?
Captain Tom Moore captured the nation’s attention during the coronavirus lockdown, when he vowed to walk 100 laps of his garden for health service charities.
Moore, who was 99 when he started the challenge – originally hoped to raise £1,000.
But after his efforts went viral – and were featured on TV – he eventually raised almost £33m.
Moore then went on to record a history-making cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care choir.
The song shot to number one, making Moore – who was 99 at the time – the oldest person to ever top the singles charts.
Captain Tom’s 100 birthday celebrations
Following Moore’s fundraising success, his 100th birthday in April was celebrated around the country.
The veteran was honoured with two military flypasts over his village – the first of a Spitfire and a Hurricane, and the second of a Wildcat and an Apache helicopter.
Moore – who was made an honorary colonel on his birthday – also received more than 140,000 birthday cards, including one from the Queen and a message from the prime minister.
Boris Johnson said: “Captain Tom, I know I speak for the whole country when I say we wish you a very happy 100th birthday.
“Your heroic efforts have lifted the spirits of the entire nation.”
Captain Tom, who is a cricket fan, was also been made an honorary member of the England cricket team by former captain Michael Vaughan.
But that’s not the only sporting honour that has been bestowed upon the centenarian.
In July, former England captain David Beckham visited Moore with a special award, making him the first member of the Lionhearts squad of inspirational heroes.
The Lionhearts is an initiative honouring inspirational people who have gone above and beyond during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.