The Westerleigh Group is paying tribute to pandemic hero Captain Sir Tom Moore by raising money in his memory to mark what would have been his 101st birthday on 30 April.
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, is challenging its 35 sites nationwide to do something to support the Captain Tom Foundation.
The group has set up a Just Giving page and is inviting anyone from the communities served by their sites to pay their own tribute to Sir Tom by donating.
Some of the crematoria teams are hosting bake sales, others are walking and/or running laps of their grounds, one site manager is cycling 100 miles on her indoor bike and one site, Wessex Vale in Hampshire, plans to hoist a Union Jack a little higher each time they check donation totals that have been made in honour of Captain Tom.
Westerleigh Group’s HR team is also getting in on the act, using the Strava exercise tracking app to log them walking or running the equivalent distance between Westerleigh’s most northern site – Stirlingshire Crematorium – to its most southern, Treswithian Downs in Cornwall.
That means that the nine members of the team are going to spend a month covering 519 miles between them, hopefully coming together as a team on 18 May to complete the last miles together.
Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the hearts of 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.
Westerleigh Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Mclaughlan, said: “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 what we do, which is why we were so keen to support the foundation and honour Captain Tom’s 101st birthday.
“Unfortunately, lockdown restrictions mean we are still not able to invite people to our sites to take part in any fundraising activities directly, which is why we’ve challenged our teams to try to raise as much money as possible themselves.
“But people we have served in the local communities can still be part of 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, we hope Westerleigh Group will be able to make a meaningful donation to the Captain Tom Foundation, in honour of that remarkable man.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so through Westerleigh Group’s Just Giving page, which can be found at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westerleigh-group