30 April: One of the top news stories today is Captain Tom’s birthday. It is the story of an elderly war veteran who, a few weeks ago decided that he would walk a hundred laps of his garden (25 metres a time) before he reached his 100th birthday and he would ask people to sponsor his walk with the proceeds to go to the NHS Charities. The walk was not that easy. He is dependent on a walker and he is very bent – but he soldiered on. His effort touched the hearts of the people and he has, to date, raised over £30 million. Soldiers from his old regiment lined the path of his last lap and on his birthday he even got a Battle of Britain memorial fly past of a Spitfire and a Hurricane as well as messages from all over the country, including The Queen and the Prime Minister. Thousands of birthday cards have flooded a church hall nearby – and given the inability to shop for such things, they are mostly handmade, many from children.
As if that were not enough, he recorded a duet with Michael Ball and set a new chart record after his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone hit number one last Friday. The then 99-year-old became the oldest artist to reach number one on the official UK singles chart in its 70-year history. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-52419261/captain-tom-tops-the-charts-breaking-record
It is easy to see why this story has touched so many people at this time. It teaches us a simple lesson: you do not have to be a victim, you do not have to be helpless, you too can act, have goals and make a difference – even if you are 100 years old. In the interviews with the Captain (now an honorary Colonel) you meet a modest man – despite his life accomplishments and war experience – who remains optimistic and whose main message is that “we’ll never walk alone”, that we will survive this time and tomorrow will be a better day.
British readers will be very familiar with this story but for those readers elsewhere in the world, it is a tale worth recording here.