National hero Captain Tom Moore celebrates his 100th birthday today and thanks to our readers for helping him raise almost £30 million for the NHS.

The World War Two veteran, whose momentous fundraising efforts during the coronavirus crisis have made him a national treasure - took time out to deliver a personal message to readers who have donated to his cause.

As he prepared to read goodwill messages in some of the 125,000 birthday cards sent by well-wishers from across the globe, Captain Tom told our readers: “I am so deeply and sincerely grateful to the tremendous British Public and especially the readers of the paper for their help. You have shown me so much love.”

Daily Echo:

Captain Tom, who was born in Keighley and now lives in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, hoped to raise a few thousand pounds for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

His efforts proved an inspiration to people coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic and donations poured in from all over the world.

With the total standing at almost £30m last night, the former Army officer, who served in Burma during the Second World War, holds the record for the largest sum ever raised in by an individual charity walk.

He also holds a second world record as the oldest person to have a number-one single in the UK charts after recording ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with singer Michael Ball.

Daily Echo:

Southampton hospital chiefs and politicians took the opportunity to paise Captain Tom for his efforts.

Interim Joint Director at Southampton Hospitals Charity, Jeneen Thomsen said: “The impact he has had on people across the world has been incredible and the millions he has raised for the wellbeing of our NHS staff and volunteers is already making a difference. We’d like to wish Captain Tom a very happy birthday, and from all of us at Southampton Hospitals Charity we are enormously grateful to him for all that he is doing for our wonderful NHS staff.”

MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead said: “The fundraising efforts of Captain Tom Moore have been nothing short of heroic and I think that he should be suitably honoured. I would like to say Happy Birthday to the Captain and thank him for a lifetime of service to his country.”

Daily Echo:

Former Saints manager, Lawrence McMenemy said: “It’s just incredible. The obvious thing to do would be to reward him with a knighthood. Many, many congratulations. Well done for giving a good example to younger people.”

Daily Echo:

MP for Eastleigh, Paul Holmes added: "Captain Tom’s fundraising campaign for our NHS is absolutely inspirational. He has shown great fortitude and determination during this difficult time to raise millions of pounds for our NHS while lifting our spirits.

"I think Captain Tom represents the very best of what it is to be British and a knighthood to honour his service in the war and his fundraising would be fully deserved.

"As he reaches his 100th birthday, I hope that he enjoys some well earned rest and a delicious piece of cake. Happy Birthday Captain Tom from all of us in Eastleigh."