It started off as a bit of encouragement, a nudge to her World War II veteran father to keep active in lockdown after breaking his hip 18 months ago.
Less than two weeks later, 99-year-old Capt. Tom Moore and his daughter have helped raise more than 18 million pounds, or $22 million, to support the staff and volunteers of the U.K.’s beloved National Health Service.
“I told him, I’ll give you a pound for every length that you do and if you do 100 by your 100th birthday that’ll be 100 pounds,” said Tom Moore’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, who lives with her father in Marston Moretaine, around 50 miles north of London.
Each day, Moore, armed with his walker, aimed to do enough lengths of the path in his 50-yard-long yard to finish the challenge in time for his birthday at the end of the month. They started a JustGiving page, and aimed to raise 1,000 pounds, or $1,244, by the end of the month.
Local media then picked up the story and the donations started rolling in. They smashed the initial target and the Moores then set a goal of 5,000 pounds. They soon upped it to 50,000 pounds, and then 250,000 pounds. In the end, it took just 11 days to raise 18 million pounds, with the number continuing to rise by hundreds of thousands on Friday morning.
“This is unbelievable, it really is. You can’t believe when you see these sums of money come along,” said Moore.
During the war, he served with the British army India and Burma, now known as Myanmar, and went on to become an instructor at the The Armoured Fighting Vehicle School.
In total, nearly 900,000 people have donated, bringing record traffic to the JustGiving website. The numbers were so large that JustGiving had to ask donors to bear with them as they processed donations from thousands of Moore’s supporters.
He even caught the eye of Prince William, who called him a “one-man fundraising machine.”