Captain Tom made honorary member of England team on 100th birthday

(Reuters) - British World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised millions for the country’s National Health Service (NHS), was made an honorary member of the England cricket team as he celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Former British Army Officer Captain Tom Moore looks at a spitfire and hurricane from RAF Coningsby that fly over his house as part of celebration of his 100th birthday and a gesture of appreciation for his fundraising achievements for the NHS, in Bedfordshire, Britain, April 30, 2020. Emma Sohl/Capture the Light Photography/Handout via REUTERS

Moore walked 100 laps around his garden this month to raise money for the NHS to aid its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has raised over 30 million pounds ($37.53 million) and won the hearts and the admiration of a nation hit hard by the outbreak.

His initial target was just 1,000 pounds.

“Captain Tom, the nation’s heartbeat... On his birthday, we make him an official member of the England cricket team,” former captain Michael Vaughan said on a video call with the veteran.

Moore attended the ‘ceremony’ in his blazer bedecked with medals as his grandson Benjie Ingram-Moore handed him an England test cap.

“You’ve done so much for the country, you’ve raised so much money for the NHS,” Vaughan added. “Now I can officially call you an honorary member of the England cricket team.”

Formula One teams and drivers have also sent their birthday congratulations to Moore, who is a big fan of the McLaren team.

With sports events worldwide suspended, Moore’s achievement has even made him a surprise contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

British professional wrestler Drew McIntyre, who was recently crowned the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion, also revealed that they had made a customised championship belt for Moore.

"As WWE Champion it is my honour, on behalf of @WWE, to celebrate the 100th birthday and extraordinary achievements of @captaintommoore with a personalized WWE title. Happy birthday sir, and thank you," he wrote on Twitter here.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis