Tom has always been active, even driving every day until he slipped and fractured his hip two years ago. The care and after-treatment he received then, and earlier through a cancer scare, left him eternally grateful to so many people in the NHS.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, Tom wanted to give something back to the healthcare staff putting their lives on the line for all of us.
He said of our NHS heroes:
“You are all entering into something where you are putting yourself in danger and you’re doing that for the good of the people here. You are doing a marvellous, marvellous job.”
The initial plan was to do 100 laps of his garden, at 50 meters a time, before his hundredth birthday. He hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS charities.
£38.9 million* later, Tom has inspired a whole nation, and drawn praise and admiration from all around the world. People were rooting for him from the four corners of the globe.
Just as importantly, thanks poured in from NHS workers all over the country. Tom was especially touched by that. He has become a national treasure and a national hero, but sees himself as anything but.
He vowed to keep on walking until his 100th birthday and then move onto his next challenge.
As he says himself: “We have to keep on going.”
*£38.9 million total includes gift aid