A flypast organised for Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday will take place tomorrow in time for the weekly Clap for Carers outside our homes.
The event has been organised to honour Captain Moore, who embarked on a fundraising effort walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
Originally wanting to raise £1,000 for the NHS, Tom has gone on to rasie almost £30million – making his the biggest single JustGiving fundraiser ever.
Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar had originally organised a flypast involving an iconic Mark IX Spitfire for the Captain’s birthday, but on Monday it said it had been denied permission to complete the flight.
Instead, its aircraft will fly on a circuit around Biggin Hill Airfield, near Croydon, to coincide with the weekly Clap for Carers event at 8pm.
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Alex Monk, a pilot who works for the company that restored the Spitfire, told the Telegraph they would later offer Captain Tom a ride in one of the planes, adding: “If it’s safe to do so, we’ll fly him in one of the two-seater Spitfires.
“That’s still something nice for him to look forward to. I think he’d appreciate that.”
The firm are still able to fly in the air traffic zone around the airfield without needing permission.
The flight on Thursday will go over the Princess Royal University Hospital, just on the edge of Bromley.
Mr Monk added: “That way they can see a Spitfire and we can do a salute to the people of the NHS.
“We’re going to try and do something as a clap for the NHS and it happens to be on Tom’s birthday, which will be nice. Fingers crossed we’ll gun for that.”
A school in Bedfordshire has also been flooded with thousands of cards from well wishers across the globe for Captain Tom.
Ahead of his landmark birthday on Thursday, more than 125,000 cards have been sent to Bedford School where his grandson, Benjie Ingram-Moore, attends.
Cards were also sent from famous names including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Dame Kelly Holmes and England football captain Harry Kane.
Benjie turned to his school for help when he learned that the post office was being swamped with cards.
The 16-year-old said: “The volume of cards that have been sent to granddad is just astonishing. So many of the cards are truly heartfelt with thousands from young children who have taken the time to use their artistic talent and write a personal message.
“Another £60,000 has been generously been donated via his birthday cards.
“It means a lot to granddad as well as us as a family. We are hugely proud of how the nation has taken granddad to its heart. Words can’t express how much I idolise him.”
Captain Tom was originally planning to mark his centenary with a family party but the celebrations have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Benjie said: “The swathes of birthday cards and messages from celebrities including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Dame Kelly Holmes and England captain Harry Kane have left granddad speechless and more than made up for his cancelled birthday plans.
“He is truly humbled by the response to his walking in the garden.”
A total of 140 members of school staff, parents and pupils past and present spent 1,750 hours opening each card and creating a display in Bedford School’s Great Hall.
Headmaster James Hodgson said: “We are so very proud to see how far Benjie has come with this – the story of his grandfather, Captain Tom Moore, has captured the nation and is a real affirmation of people’s kindness.”