Pathfinder International magazine, the leading UK military resettlement and veterans publication was fortunate enough to find a slot in the busy diary of Colonel Tom Moore, following his amazing fundraising achievements of late.
Pathfinder editor, Mal Robinson spoke to Colonel Tom about his memories of VE Day and his latest exploits for the May issue of Pathfinder, but you can also read the interview below…
VE Day 75: Colonel Tom Moore – A Hero Once More…75 Years On
Life as we know it came to a standstill for most of the planet during April 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold globally. The UK was of course no different and as many of us wondered what the next day held in store, the entire nation in a state of apprehension, if not anxiety, a beacon of light shone forth in the form of a 99-year old veteran.
His name was Tom Moore, a World War 2 veteran who had saw battles with the Germans and then the Japanese later in the conflict, a former Captain in the British Army. With his 100th birthday on the horizon, Captain Tom vowed to walk 100 laps of his garden before his centenary to try and raise £1,000 for NHS charities.
Word of the incredible feat for someone who required support when walking soon spread and Captain Tom’s story was soon emblazoned across the media and the fundraising figure jumped to £500,000, then £850,000, then £1M, £2M until it eventually surpassed £32M just after Tom’s 100th.
Fast forward a number one hit with singer Michael Ball, Captain Tom was promoted to Honorary Colonel on his birthday and now Pathfinder International is honoured and humbled to have been granted access to speak to Colonel Tom Moore to recall VE Day and his latest heroic achievements.
We are celebrating 75 years of VE Day in this issue, what are your memories of that particular day?
I was based at the Armoured Vehicle Fighting School, we did stop our duties for the day, but the main celebrations were in London. My memories of this day are bitter sweet; we were all thrilled that the war had come to an end in Europe but the war was still raging in the East and my friends and comrades were still fighting a war against an enemy without morals and with no fear of death.
Why do you feel it is important to remember VE Day?
“We must remember this most incredible moment in time and remind ourselves of how many people died to give us this victory. We must also remember VJ day, as the war was not truly over until then.”
What were your reasons behind wanting to start this challenge?
“As a family we agreed that a challenge to help me in my recuperation and mark my 100th birthday could also raise money for our wonderful NHS.”
How do you feel with the support of a whole nation behind you?
“I am in awe of the support of the British public, the compassion and love that they have shown me has given me renewed purpose and reenergised me, I will be forever grateful.”
How did it feel to have a guard of honour from the military when completing this challenge?
“I was overwhelmed with joy and pride, there could have been no greater honour.”
Many people have been inspired by you during these difficult times. What would be your message to them getting through these final weeks of the COVID lockdown?
“As you will have come to know, I sincerely believe that we as a nation must always stand together, united and undivided by class, race or religion, and the only way we will defeat this invisible enemy is to stand shoulder to shoulder, and never walk alone.”
Do you have any further plans in terms of challenges?
“I am taking some days to rest my legs, but think of this like a cricket test match, I am just breaking for tea after the first day!”
Colonel Tom Moore was talking to Mal Robinson.
Read the May issue of Pathfinder here for free.