Bedford School might not be full of pupils this week, but the Great Hall was a hive of activity yesterday (Tuesday) as the school took delivery of over 40,000 birthday cards for Bedfordshire’s fundraising superstar, Captain Tom Moore.
99-year-old Captain Moore captured the hearts of the world as he set out to walk 100 lengths of his 25′ garden before his 100th birthday to raise £1,000 for the NHS at they tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Having now raised nearly £28m*, the story of his incredible achievement has made headlines all over the world, and has meant that lots – and lots and lots – of people wanted to send Captain Tom a card for his birthday on 30 April.
Well-wishers have been addressing their cards to the local post office in Marston Moretaine, which has been run for the last 32 years by Bill Chandi.
“In all my years as a Post Master, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Bill told the Bedford Independent.
“We’re ecstatic for Tom. Whenever he used to pop into our shop he’d always say to me that post offices are at the centre of the community.
“I spoke to him on Saturday and told him that’s certainly true now.”
Captain Tom’s grandson, Benjie, is a Year 11 pupil at Bedford School and the staff offered their facilities to the family to help them with the mammoth task of opening each and every card.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the school is helping out wherever it can,” said Head Master, James Hodgson.
As well as offering their services to Captain Tom’s family, Bedford School has donated PPE to frontline workers and are 3D printing equipment to help.
“Around the country, everyone’s pitching in to help and it reaffirms your belief in people’s kindness.”
Throughout the morning, Benjie was interviewed by local and national media, but he still found time show his grandfather some of the many birthday cards over Skype.
Captain Tom thanked everyone for sending cards and spoke briefly to thank the volunteers for their help.
Afterwards, Benjie thanked everyone and said that the support from the school and from the public had been overwhelming.
He said, “So many of the donations to the JustGiving fund have come from Bedfordshire, it’s one of the most generous counties. We can’t thank everyone enough.”
*fundraising total correct at time of publication.