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UK's 100-year-old COVID-19 fundraising war veteran dreams of revisiting India

Human Interest

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A 100-year-old Army veteran, who served in India during the World War II and became an internet sensation with his coronavirus fundraising drive to raise millions by doing laps around his garden, says revisiting India is among his few post-lockdown wishes.

In an interview with The Times', the military man who served as an engineer during the war in India expressed a wish to be able to travel once again after the coronavirus travel restrictions are eased.

I would like to go back to India again and Barbados I think, and maybe the Continent, said Moore, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month.

Being realistic I don't think I will get to all the places. But I would love to travel on Route 66 in America, he said.

Conscripted to the 8th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1940, Moore served in India and Burma and then instructed at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School. After the war, he became a managing director of a concrete company.

He has successfully raised almost 33 million pounds for NHS Charities Together and was promoted to Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College, awarded Freedom of the City of London and became the oldest person ever to achieve a UK No. 1 single.

I never anticipated I would ever be a celebrity, I didn't really understand what they were, he told the newspaper in a virtual interview over Zoom.

I don't really understand how it all happened, except I'm seen as being a hopeful person and it's true I've never despaired, even in wartime, I've always known that things would get better. Just like now, we are going through a dark patch but things will improve, he said.

Moore received a whopping 150,000 birthday cards on April 30 as well as a Royal Air Force fly-past and is a sought-after personality after he completed his mission of 100 laps around his garden to mark his centenary year and help the National Health Service (NHS) frontline professionals fighting the deadly virus.

The fly-past was wonderful. They were flying past in peace, not anger and it was in my benefit, I couldn't believe it, said Moore.

I also loved my card from the Queen. She is a marvellous person. I remember when she and I were in the Army together, and although she was quite a lot younger than me she was in the same uniform. That felt very uniting, he said.

The war veteran refuses to slow down and is now fundraising for a new set of charities. He has set up a foundation and a website called to raise money to combat issues such as loneliness and help fund more hospices. He also has his own Twitter account and a publishing contract to write two books.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, May 16 2020. 18:54 IST