Captain Sir Tom Moore was a shining example of the Churchill generation. These are the men and women who served this country during the war, then rebuilt the nation and their homes.
They looked after their families and put others before themselves.
To describe someone as an ‘inspiration’ is greatly over-used these days.
But that is definitely not so in the case of Sir Tom.
The courage, modesty, stoicism and the humour that he showed in defying his age to raise £33million for the NHS – during the biggest crisis our country has faced since 1945 – was more than inspirational.
It was genuinely of heroic proportions.
This is why I believe Sir Tom should be remembered for all time, as are other British heroes, like my grandfather Sir Winston Churchill, with a statue.
This is why I believe Sir Tom should be remembered for all time, as are other British heroes, like my grandfather Sir Winston Churchill, with a statue
A statue showing him in his regimental blue blazer, immaculate shirt and tie, proudly wearing the medals he won serving with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment as an engineer in India, Burma and Indonesia, would be a magnificent tribute.
In keeping with the warmth and affection the British people felt for Sir Tom, I believe the funds for the statue should be raised by public subscription.
I believe people would come in their thousands to see him and honour him for helping us all get through these desperate days.
They will be able to tell their children and grandchildren of the symbolism of his statue. One of the reasons Sir Tom captured the public’s imagination is precisely because he was not a political figure.
He was a soldier and grandfather and unassumingly embodied all the finest qualities of the wartime generation.
In keeping with the warmth and affection the British people felt for Sir Tom, I believe the funds for the statue should be raised by public subscription
It was epitomised by an unquenchable spirit, a deep sense of duty, selflessness, and courage in the face of great adversity; all the things that in the eyes of some, are outdated today.
Almost uniquely, Sir Tom inspired Britons of every stripe, Left and Right, young and old, people of all social classes.
The men and women who lived through the war were much tougher than we are.
They were moulded by their experiences, they didn’t complain, they worked hard.
But they also found time to love and laugh and understood their wider obligations and responsibilities to each other.
Sir Tom Moore had a deep love of his country and he wanted to show it, not just by waving the flag, though he was proud to do so, memorably wearing the Union Flag draped round his shoulders for a magazine cover shoot.
But more than mere gestures, he was a deeply practical man, determined to help. He showed again and again during his long life that everyone can play their part in helping those around them get through this crisis.His long march around his garden last year, walking frame and all, made people think: ‘If Sir Tom can make all that effort and not be defeated, I am going to do the same.’
They saw in him all the qualities they value and aspire to: Qualities that are as relevant and important today – and as universally admired as they were in the war.
Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames, this article’s author and the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill
The Queen expressed that feeling eloquently in her beautiful address to the nation last April, when she invoked Vera Lynn’s song ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
Sir Tom never downplayed the seriousness of Covid, and bore the obvious risk to himself with equanimity, saying: ‘If I get it, I get it. I’m not worried at all. You have endless chances of dying: In the end everyone has to have a turn. It has to happen sometime.’
It was a fine and selfless sentiment from the man whose optimistic motto was ever: ‘Tomorrow will be a good day.’
I believe it is to the credit of millions of ordinary men, woman and children in every part of Britain that so many followed his lead. I think Trafalgar Square, in the shadow of Nelson’s Column, would be a fine setting for a statue of Sir Tom.
It was where Londoners joyfully celebrated the end of the war in 1945.
In recent years the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square has featured a number of fashionable or politically correct art works, such as a large dollop of whipped cream topped with a cherry and a fly.
How much better it would be if the magnificent and nationally unifying figure of Sir Tom was on view instead.
When Covid is over, people would throng there to celebrate the extraordinary contribution he made to getting us all through it. I for one, would be proud to stand among them.
Above all, wise and kindly Sir Tom knew that we have to do more than just survive this crisis.
As hopes grow that the end is in sight, we need to muster the strength of purpose to regenerate our shattered economy and rebuild our national life in all respects.
That, together with a statue, is the way to give us all fresh hope and honour the memory of the great Captain Sir Tom.