British WWII veteran raises $23 million for U.K. health services

Coronavirus

BEDFORDSHIRE, England (CNN) – World War Two Veteran Captain Tom Moore has raised more than £19 ($23M) to support the UK’s national health system, after walking 100 laps in his garden.

Moore, who will turn 100 later this month, began a JustGiving fundraiser on April 8, initially hoping to raise £1,000 ($1,200) for NHS Charities Together, which raises funds for UK hospitals, including for staff, volunteers and patients affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Moore started the fundraiser as a way to thank the doctors and nurses who cared for him after his broke his hip. His family initially set a target of raising 1,000 pounds. The campaign went viral after Moore appeared on national television, and millions were raised within a week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Moore “embodied the spirit of the country.”

“Tom has captured the heart of the nation with his heroic efforts,” Johnson spokesman James Slack said.

He completed the challenge on Thursday, after walking 10 laps of his garden each day, aided by a walking frame. He told CNN he never anticipated being able to raise such a sum.

“Really, we never, ever thought for a minute that we would get to this sort of money. We started off with a little modest figure of…we thought we might try and make a thousand pounds,” Moore said “I never thought for a minute that this was going to be any sort of achievement for the National Health Service. Anything I did for them was not with the intention of achievement, it was just to help the service…”

There are now growing calls for Moore to be honored for his service to the UK. More than 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the government to give him a knighthood.

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