Salute Captain Fantastic!

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By ALAN FRAME

Few things have lifted the spirits during this wretched time. Not the oafish, wholly ignorant, vile Trump, and not the bumbling performance of those responsible for the lack of proper protection for all health and care staff. But one man has: Step forward Captain Fantastic. 

WW2 veteran Tom Moore, who is 100 years old, has raised more than £32million for Health Service charities by walking laps around his garden. He ended it with a much deserved guard of honour from the Yorkshire Regiment. 

The fact that he set out with a target of £1,000 speaks volumes, not just of the generosity of the public, but for the great good will we have for all NHS and care people working tirelessly on our behalf. And for Tom himself.

So when the Queen, not far short of Tom’s age herself, dispatches the customary telegram marking his centenary on April 30, she should accompany it with a knighthood for great service to the nation in making us all feel that much more cheerful and hopeful about life. As his great nephew says, he has come to symbolise the spirit of the nation.

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GUARD OF HONOUR: Tom marches on

This would be an opportunity to restore some honour to the system which has been used to reward sycophancy to whichever party is in power, either by cash (lots of it) or slavish support through editorship of newspapers. As for the civil service, it’s usually a case of Buggins’ Turn. 

In 1995 I was privileged to be a small part of the campaign which brought back 11/11/11, 11 o’clock of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marking the Armistice of World War One. It was a British Legion project led by pal Brian Basham (no friend of the monarchy and honours it must be said) asking for the Silence to be observed not just on Remembrance Sunday but on actual date itself.) What was remarkable about the success of that campaign was that more than 90 per cent of the support came from 18-25 year olds and not, as you would expect, their parents and grandparents. I am sure the younger generation has been equally generous in their support for Tom Moore.

So a gong for the indefatigable Capt Moore would go some way to show that the good guys are rewarded too. Maybe Philip Green would volunteer to give his K back to go to such a good cause. I’m not holding my breath


© 2005-2020 Alastair McIntyre