Wessex Vale Crematorium’s is flying the flag for Captain Tom
Staff at Wessex Vale Crematorium are honouring pandemic hero Captain Sir Tom Moore by raising money – and a Union Jack flag - in his memory on what would have been his 101st birthday on 30 April.
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, including Wessex Vale Crematorium, is challenging staff at its 35 sites nationwide, to come up with creative ways of supporting the Captain Tom Foundation.
The group has also set up a Just Giving page and is inviting anyone from the communities served by them to pay their own tribute to Sir Tom by donating, perhaps in memory of their own loved ones.
Wessex Vale Crematorium has a new six-metre-high flagpole and a Union Jack is going to be raised a little higher each time the site checks the donation totals that have been made in Captain Tom’s honour.
Westerleigh Group multi-site manager Lisa Johnson said: “It would be lovely to get enough donations in that we can raise the flag to the full height on Captain Tom’s birthday.
“When Westerleigh Group decided to honour Captain Tom, the flagpole seemed the natural way to do it. Captain Tom captured the nation’s hearts and therefore what better way could there be than to symbolise this by raising the Union Jack.”
Captain Tom inspired the nation during the Coronavirus pandemic when he raised an amazing £38.9m for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday.
He also had a number one hit UK single, with a new version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which he recorded with Michael Ball.
His efforts also earned him two Guinness World Records, for raising the most amount of money in an individual charity walk and being the oldest person to top the UK singles charts.
On 17 July 2020 he was knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital after being treated for pneumonia and then testing positive for Covid-19.
The Captain Tom Foundation was launched in May 2020 to ensure his inspiring message of hope, and that “tomorrow will be a good day”, becomes a lasting legacy.
The Foundation is running the Captain Tom 100 campaign to coincide with what would have been his 101st birthday, challenging people to undertake fundraising challenges around the word 100, whether it be baking 100 cakes, walking 100 metres, writing 100 letters or anything else they can come up with.
Lisa added: “The Captain Tom Foundation raises money for charities and organisations which were close to his heart, including several which support people, and their families, with life limiting illnesses and who are facing or coping with bereavement.
“This resonates with our work, which is why Westerleigh Group and Wessex Vale Crematorium were keen to support the foundation and honour Captain Tom’s 101st birthday.
“Anyone in the community who has used our crematorium can support our fundraising effort, by making a donation to our new Just Giving page.
“The senior leadership team at Westerleigh has got our fundraising started with a £500 donation.
“Through the efforts of our colleagues and the support of our communities, Westerleigh Group wants to be able to make a meaningful donation to the Captain Tom Foundation to mark what would have been in his 101st birthday.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so through Westerleigh Group’s Just Giving page, mentioning Wessex Vale Crematorium in their donation message. The page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westerleigh-group