(Reuters) – Britain’s coronavirus fundraising hero Captain Tom Moore got two Guinness World Record titles to add to his accolades on Friday, just days shy of his 100th birthday.
The World War Two veteran took the record for the most money raised by an individual through a charity walk – as of Friday afternoon he had collected more than £28.6 million for the National Health Service (NHS) by completing laps of his garden.
Moore, who has used a walking frame with wheels since breaking his hip, had originally hoped to raise just £1,000. But he shot past that as media attention from around the globe zoomed in on his home in Bedfordshire, central England.
He was also recognised as the oldest person to reach number one in Britain’s main music charts through his appearance with singer Michael Ball on a cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – another fundraiser for the health service.
Guinness World Records said that title had been held by Welsh star Tom Jones, who was 68 when he sang on the charity single “Barry Islands in the Stream” in 2009.
Moore, who turns 100 on April 30, said he felt honoured to receive the awards.
“My charity walk has raised more money than I could have possibly imagined and I am so thankful to those who have donated money and bought the single so we could achieve these records together and raise money for our incredible NHS during these difficult times.”
“These really are Guinness World Records titles for all of us,” he added.
Moore’s fundraising walk broke a 40-year-old record. Guinness World Records said the previous title for the most money raised through a charity walk was held by Canadian athlete Terry Fox.
Fox, who lost a leg to cancer when he was a teenager, set off on a cross-Canada run in 1980 by dipping his prosthetic limb into the Atlantic Ocean with the aim of getting all the way to the Pacific.
After 5,376km (3,341 miles) the cancer had spread to his lungs and forced him to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Sept. 1, 1980. He died less than a year later aged 22.
Guinness World Records said Fox collected C$14.7 million – worth £5.4 million at the time and £27,201,900 today, adjusted for inflation. A subsequent telethon raised a further C$10 million in his honour, the organisation added.
Writing by Andrew Heavens. Editing by Angus MacSwan