Public are asked to stay at home as family of Bedford's Captain Sir Tom Moore hold funeral this Saturday

Daughters set up online book of condolence

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:18 am

Captain Sir Tom Moore's family have confirmed his funeral will be held this Saturday - but due to the pandemic restrictions, will be small.

In a statement from daughters Lucy Teixeira and Hannah Ingram-Moore, they said: "Over the past year our father spoke openly about his death and his funeral, and had wondered out-loud if perhaps the interest in him over the last 12 months would mean we would need to have more Victoria Sponge cakes available for the extra guests.

"Sadly, like so many other families affected by the pandemic, we have no choice but to hold a small family funeral, which will take place this Saturday."

Captain Sir Tom Moore

Ant they asked people to stay away.

The daughters added: "Whilst we understand so many people wish to pay their respects to our father, we ask that the public and the press continue to support the NHS by staying at home.

"We have been contacted by so many people asking what they can do to honour our father, so we have set up an online book of condolence. People can also donate to The Captain Tom Foundation, plant a tree in his memory or donate to a charity of your choice."

Captain Sir Tom raised more than £32million during the first coronavirus lockdown for the NHS by walking laps around his garden in Marston Moretaine. He had initially started his fundraising campaign to raise £1,000 for the NHS.

The 100 year old died in Bedford Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

His daughters also revealed how the NHS hero had been writing a book.

They said: "In the last few months of his life, our father had spent many enjoyable hours writing a book he chose to call Captain Tom’s Life Lessons, which he planned to release just before his 101st birthday. Sadly, he’ll never get to share this with you personally.

The final chapter is so poignant and reading it brings us so much comfort and warmth, so we share the last chapter now as a thank you, from our father Tom and us as a family, for the love and kindness The Nation and the world have shown him."

Captain Tom’s Life Lesson’s - Epilogue

Every night when I go to bed, I perform all my morning tasks in reverse order before

saying a little prayer and sliding under the duvet. Closing my eyes, I assess how my

body feels after a day of activity, holding my head in my hands and allowing my gnarled

fingers to follow the contours of my skull. The thought occurs to me that this lump of

bone is 100 years old, something I’d never considered before. If it was a vase or a bowl,

it might even be valuable.

Being this old probably explains why my hearing has diminished over the years. After all,

I am listening through century- old ears. Without my aids, I’m plunged into a world of

silence much like my father’s. I’ve had two new knees to stop them complaining, but I

lost my teeth a long time ago, probably due to my childhood habit of crunching sugar

lumps.

Having always been five feet ten inches, I have shrunk quite a bit in recent years, curled

over as I am like a human question mark. This has changed my shape so that I now

need to tighten my belt to stop my trousers falling down.

Two things I haven’t lost yet are my sight and my marbles. I’ve worn glasses for many a

year and can still see perfectly well through them, which is a blessing – although when I

look in the mirror these days I barely recognize the face staring back at me. As for my

mind, well it gets a bit forgetful sometimes, but people assure me that I’m still sharp for

my age.

Being so dreadfully old, I expected some physical limitations along with the normal

deterioration of my bodywork, but I didn’t bank on being quite so tired. This is something

the younger generation doesn’t always allow for. I am constantly surprised by how even

the slightest exertion requires a nap or three to compensate.

There is nevertheless something almost reassuring about accepting the decline that I

cannot prevent. A kind of calmness overcomes you when you realize that the end might

come at any time. Death becomes somehow easier to think about and not something to

be afraid of. It’s not that I’m giving up; it’s more a case of throttling back and quietly

cruising along towards the inevitable. Just like when my eighty- five- year- old father

gently told my sister, ‘This will be my last meal,’

before taking to his bed, never to rise again.

There are nights when I lie in my bed and wonder if I’ll ever get up again, as I never

thought I’d live this long. Nobody imagines being 100 and most of us believe we’ll have

done all right if we last as long as our parents did. Logic and science tell me that I shan’t

be around for many more years, but my competitive streak keeps me going.

None of us know when our time will come, but knowing that it will likely be sooner rather

than later does focus the mind and makes every day precious. People say we should

live each day as if it’s our last, but we can’t be happy all the time. That would be bad for

us. Life isn’t perfect and we have to feel sorrow sometimes to know what happiness is.

But we can at least choose to find some joy in each and every day.

My advice would be not to assume that you’ll live as long as me and don’t put anything

really important off, because tomorrow could be your last. Forgiveness is a good place to

start because it isn’t healthy to keep carrying bitterness in your heart. Nobody is perfect.

Accept that and move on. There’s not enough time in this life to waste it on anger and

hatred.

People often ask me what the secret to old age is, but I really don’t have one other than

to keep breathing. I’ve never paid much attention to health advice and have eaten

whatever I liked. The good news is that when you get to my age everyone treats you

with kindness and respect. You can’t put a foot wrong because no one dares argue with

you.

I am also often asked if I have a ‘bucket list’, and although there are a few places I have

said I might hope to visit, I’ve done almost all that I want to do and, in any event, I’m

afraid to mention anything in case it gets arranged. On one TV appearance I said it

would be fun to travel across America on Route 66 – riding my motorbike. I’m not sure

I’m up to all that time on a motorbike

now, so I joked that I’d settle for a Bentley. But I should be careful what I wish for

because the next thing I knew, someone offered to provide me with a luxury car!

I must admit that I do miss gadding about, but I doubt I’ll have time to do much more.

This old chassis has had a good run and is soon headed for the scrapheap. Not that

there’ll be much to salvage, mind. I find myself wondering what the end will be like and

whether I’ve had my last bowl of porridge.

I only pray that I don’t linger on or go into a home. That would be a final mercy. Once

that happens, I want everyone to say, ‘Well done, Tom!’ and hopefully reflect that I’ve

done a bit of good. Life will go on. Babies will be born. People will eventually forget

about Captain Tom. For a while, though, I’ll be remembered for the last few years of my

life rather than those that went

before, and that’s a rare blessing in a world that tends to celebrate youthful endeavour.

Previously, my funeral would have made one little line in the local newspaper and been

attended by only a handful of people, but I expect there’ll be a few more now. Someone

will have to make extra cake and sandwiches, and it won’t be me. I want the service to

end with ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra because I always did things my way and especially

like the line about having

too few regrets to mention.

It’s odd and rather touching to think that people might weep over my passing – strangers

I’ve never even met. If I can, I’d like to watch my own funeral from a distance. That

would be quite the joke as I looked down and chuckled at everyone making a lot of fuss

over me.

Even though I have a space reserved in the village churchyard, I want to be cremated

and my ashes taken back to Yorkshire to be with my parents and grandparents in the

Moore family plot. I wouldn’t mind having a little white headstone somewhere to mark my

existence, a bit like the ones they have in military cemeteries. Nothing too fancy.

Several people have asked me what my epitaph might be, so I’ve given that a bit of

thought too. When I was younger, I enjoyed listening to The Goon Show on the wireless,

and one of the comedians who always made me laugh the hardest was Spike Milligan.

Like me, he fought in the Second World War, but was wounded in Italy. When he died at

the age of eighty- three, he wrote his own epitaph, which was engraved in Gaelic on his

headstone. It reads: ‘I told you I was ill.’

This always made me laugh, so I think I’d ask for the simple inscription of my name, the

dates of my earthly span, and the words: ‘I told you I was old.’

That’ll do me. And hopefully, some day it will make someone smile.