WWII veteran tops British music charts after record coronavirus fund-raiser

Mr Tom Moore raised more than $48 million for Britain's National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his 25m garden, with the help of his walking frame.
Mr Tom Moore raised more than $48 million for Britain's National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his 25m garden, with the help of his walking frame.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • A 99-year-old British World War II veteran who shot to fame raising millions for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus has become the oldest artist to reach No. 1 in the British music singles charts.

Mr Tom Moore's rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone - the anthem of Liverpool Football Club and made popular by English beat group Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963 - sold 82,000 units, the Press Association (PA) news agency said last Friday, beating Canadian artist The Weeknd's Blinding Lights in second place.

"It's out of this world, truly amazing!" Mr Moore, a captain who served in India, said on his official Twitter account.

The single, which features Mr Moore singing alongside actor and singer Michael Ball and a choir from the state-run health service, is also the fastest-selling single of this year so far, according to PA.

The race to the No. 1 spot had been tight, Mr Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company told PA, until The Weeknd tweeted his support last Thursday for the "incredible 99 yr old war veteran", and his hope that Mr Moore "can have a No. 1 for his 100th birthday".

"My grandchildren can't believe I am a chart topper!" Mr Moore, who turns 100 on Thursday, told PA.

Guinness World Records also announced Mr Moore had broken the record for raising the most money in an individual charity walk - more than £27 million (S$48 million).

He initially set out to raise just £1,000 for Britain's National Health Service (NHS) by walking 100 laps of his 25m garden, with the help of his walking frame.

But his journey resonated with a public inundated with grim pandemic coverage and he became a global phenomenon praised by British Olympic great Mo Farrah and Prince William.

The final lap of his garden in Bedfordshire, south England, was met with a guard of honour from the Yorkshire Regiment and broadcast live on British TV last Thursday.

"What a way to finish the week," Mr Moore's latest tweet said. "It's simply wonderful and all for such a good cause. The NHS staff and the volunteers are the real heroes & they continue to do such a magnificent job THANK YOU!"

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2020, with the headline 'WWII veteran tops British music charts after record virus fund-raiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe