The NHS has invited Captain Tom Moore to be the guest of honour at the official opening of the new Nightingale hospital in Harrogate next week as a way of honouring the Yorkshire native’s fundraising efforts.
The 99-year-old war veteran, and now a household name for raising an incredible £23 million for the NHS, is set to praise NHS workers via video link at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and Humber hospital on Tuesday (21 April).
A story now known across the country, the former British Military Officer, who served in India and in the Burma campaign during the Second World War, aimed to raise £1,000 for NHS charities by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
More than one million people have since donated to his Just Giving page, helping him reach 4640% of his original goal.
Captain Tom Moore said: “I am still amazed by the amount of kindness and generosity from the UK public who continue to give despite it being an uncertain time for many. I think the amount raised demonstrates just how much we all value the dedication and sacrifices made by our NHS workers. I have fought during a war and they are now fighting in a war too.”
“I’m honoured to be opening the NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and Humber and to get to thank many of the NHS workers directly. I know that having extra beds available for the sick, if needed will be reassuring to those workers, as it would have been to me when I was on the frontline.”
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “On behalf of the NHS our heartfelt thanks go to Captain Tom Moore for his remarkable fundraising efforts for NHS charities, and to the public for their generosity in supporting him and our staff.
“Inviting Captain Moore to be our guest of honour at the opening of NHS Nightingale Yorkshire and Humber is the least we can do to thank him for his inspiring service and example, and no doubt there will be further ways in which we will be able to express our gratitude.
“Just like the amazing campaign Captain Moore has inspired, the Nightingales are a symbol of how people have come together as part of a nationwide effort to prepare – should they be needed now or in the months to come – for the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.
“But of course we all hope we need to use the Nightingales as little as possible – and the thousands of other beds that hospital staff have freed up – and for that to happen we need the public to continue to stay home to save lives.”
The seven Nightingale hospitals have been set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.
This extra capacity is on top of the 33,000 additional beds freed up across NHS hospitals – the equivalent of building 50 district general hospitals – and the up to 8,000 beds put at the NHS’ disposal through an unprecedented deal with the independent sector.
These measures combined mean that capacity still exists in hospitals to care for patients with coronavirus, as well as other patients who may need urgent and emergency treatment, with the Nightingales standing ready if local services need them beyond that.