A birthday message for Captain Tom Moore is displayed on the advertising boards in Piccadilly Circus in London on April 30, 2020 as the country celebrates his 100th birthday. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
The British government on Tuesday announced a knighthood for World War II veteran Tom Moore, who became a national hero by raising huge sums for healthcare charities during the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson nominated 100-year-old "Captain Tom" for the honor after he raised almost £32.8 million ($40.2 million, 36.8 million euros) by walking around his garden.
Moore set himself the goal of doing 100 laps of the 25-metre (yard) garden before his 100th birthday last month, hoping to raise £1,000 for healthcare charities.
But the money started pouring in after his effort drew national and then international interest, a rare good news story in the midst of a bleak global pandemic.
Royal Air Force jets performed a flypast for his birthday and 140,000 people sent cards, while the army made Moore, who served as an engineer in India and Myanmar, an honorary Colonel.
"Colonel Tom's fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus," Johnson said.
"On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He's a true national treasure."
The knighthood, which brings with it the title of "Sir", will be formally issued by Queen Elizabeth II.
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