Captain Tom Moore has told of his pride after being made an honorary colonel of an Army training college.
The World War II veteran, 100, received a knighthood last month for raising almost £33million for the NHS during the coronavirus
pandemic. Now Sir Tom is adding another accomplishment to his already impressive list.
He said today it was ‘truly a great honour’ to be named honorary colonel of the ‘outstanding’ Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Visiting the site, he told junior soldiers to take full advantage of their surroundings, adding that he had been left ‘absolutely speechless’ by his appointment.
He watched junior soldiers take part in various activities at the military training venue, which trains 16 and 17-year-olds for Army careers.
He added: ‘I never anticipated some time ago that I would get the opportunity or the privilege of coming here and I never knew that it’s such an outstanding operation. I’ve never seen so many opportunities for young people as there is here.’
The veteran was escorted by the military police as he arrived in a people carrier and posed for a photograph with staff from all departments before attending a service in the chapel.
He waved and gave a thumbs up to assembled junior soldiers, who gave him a round of applause as he walked towards them.
As the audience were asked for questions, a member of civilian staff said: ‘We just want to say a big thank you from everyone for the inspiration.’ Sir Tom then replied: ‘It has been my pleasure.’
The veteran, who took part in the Battle of Ramree as part of the Burma campaign during the Second World War, watched a drill lesson, a personal development session and a demonstration on the high ropes.
At the end of the visit, he walked to the exit of the college to applause from junior soldiers, who flanked the 100m-long path, and stopped to talk to cadets along the way.
Before he left the site, he was presented with a commemorative frame containing photos of the college and his visit and badges of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, in which he served, and the Army Foundation College.
Junior soldier Daniel Barker, 17, from Sheffield, described Sir Tom as an ‘inspiration’.
He said: ‘He gave us some advice for our future, to understand how lucky we are because back in his day it was much different, he didn’t have the opportunities we have here at the college and to take full advantage of that.’
Sir Tom intended to raise just £1,000 when he first launched his lockdown charity challenge of walking the length of his garden 100 times. His efforts struck a chord with the nation and the donations flooded in.
He was knighted by the Queen during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier in July and said the knighthood was ‘something very special’.