'Absolute legend', Prince William says of British war vet who raised $30m for health service by walking

Captain Tom Moore poses with his walking frame in the village of Marston Moretaine, on April 16, 2020.
Captain Tom Moore poses with his walking frame in the village of Marston Moretaine, on April 16, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain’s Prince William described as an "absolute legend" the 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than £17 million (S$30 million) for the health service by walking laps of his garden.

Captain Tom Moore originally aimed to raise £1,000 by completing his challenge of walking 100 laps before his 100th birthday on April 30.

"Absolute legend," the Queen’s grandson told the BBC. "What I love also is he’s a 99-year-old war vet, he’s been around a long time, knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination."

Mr Moore, who completed the last of 100 laps of his garden on Thursday (April 16), captured the hearts of the locked-down nation, and donations flooded in from across the world.

"He's an absolute national hero," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. "What a tremendous gentleman. He is truly a British champion and I think he's given people a sense of hope."

When asked if Mr Moore should be recognised by Queen Elizabeth for his endeavour, Mr Shapps said: "I wouldn't want to pre-empt Her Majesty's honours list but it is quite clear that this gentleman has just been almost the salvation of the nation in these difficult times. I think everybody is supportive of the idea of him being recognised."

Mr Moore said the walk was inspired by the care he received from Britain's state-run National Health Service when he broke his hip and when he was treated for cancer.