BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has paid tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, saying he “provided a little bit of hope, a little bit of light in the darkness and I hope that’s his legacy going forward”.
Sir Tom died in Bedford Hospital on Tuesday morning aged 100 after testing positive for coronavirus.
Walker told the PA news agency: “I remember when he sort of first burst on to the scene, it was one of those situations where I think as a nation we sort of needed a lift and this fast approaching 100-year-old man was that figure that somehow brought a lot of people together and did manage to lift a lot of us out of the lockdown gloom.
How sad to hear about Captain Sir Tom Moore.
He did so much to inspire us all last year & achieved so much in his 100th year.
He raised millions of pounds, lifted millions of spirits and now millions will miss his wisdom & his smile.
My deepest condolences to his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/yIjNoihC2z
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) February 2, 2021
“With his words of wisdom and his cheeky little smile and the way he pottered around his garden, I think it drew a lot of people in and gave a lot of people a lot of hope at a time when there wasn’t much about I think.”
Sir Tom raised more than £32 million for the NHS when he walked 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday during the first national lockdown in April.
Asked what the veteran fundraiser’s legacy would be, Walker said: “We were talking about it this morning actually on the television, talking about that famous quote of his (Tomorrow will be a good day)… and trying to, I think positivity is a really important one, I feel, particularly at the moment, there’s a lot of darkness and a lot to worry us and concern us and a lot to be fearful of and I think Captain Sir Tom Moore provided a little bit of hope, a little bit of light in the darkness and I hope that’s his legacy going forward.”
His co-presenter Louise Minchin hailed Sir Tom as an “incredible inspiration”.
She told PA: “I feel really privileged to have been able to speak to him quite a few times on BBC Breakfast.
“What really struck me, he was so quietly modest and determined and just really inspirational in the way that he, he wasn’t flashy, it was just such a wonderful thing he was doing and it was so gentle but so inspirational for everybody who saw it, and (he was) so dogged in his tenacity, he’d get up every day and walk in the garden.”
Sir Tom, whose fundraising effort received donations from 1.5 million supporters, was also knighted by the Queen during a special open-air ceremony in summer 2020.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) February 2, 2021
Minchin said: “We spoke to him really early on when they’d just started raising money and it was just really clear from those first interviews there was something special about him that didn’t just move us as BBC Breakfast presenters but moved everybody who was watching him as well…”
She praised Sir Tom for his elegance, adding that he was “that generation, where he looked so smart and he was so well-spoken and so generous with the way he spoke”.
She added: “He just touched all of our hearts in a way that we really needed at the time.
“We really needed someone who was going to take up the mantle and tell us that everything was going to be okay and that we would get through it with, literally step by step, so I think he was what we needed at the time and it’s just with a heavy heart I heard that news today.
— Louise Minchin (@louiseminchin) February 2, 2021
“We will all miss him very much and I’ll miss being able to talk to him about what he was doing and those kind of messages he would pass on to all of us.”