Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £29m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, has been made an honorary colonel on his 100th birthday.
The promotion comes alongside a personal letter from Her Majesty and the new Colonel has also been re-presented with his Second World War Defence Medal ahead of next week’s VE Day celebrations.
And, along with the usual cake and champagne, there’ll be two flypasts to mark his big day today – by Army Air Corps helicopters as well as a Spitfire and Hurricane in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
As well-wishers across the globe sent cards in their thousands, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace paid tribute to Colonel Tom, saying he not only embodies ‘the spirit of our incredible veteran community but also the resolve of this nation’.
The war veteran will mark the occasion with thousands of birthday cards, including one from the Queen.
He said it was “extraordinary” to be turning 100, especially with “this many well-wishers”.
Head of the Army General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith called Capt Tom “an inspirational role model”.
Capt Tom is due to spend the majority of the day self-isolating with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her family at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire.
He said he would also speak to other family members via the internet.
As well as receiving a personalised card from the Queen, Capt Tom will be made an honorary England cricketer by former captain Michael Vaughan.
To celebrate his birthday, Virgin Radio presenter Chris Evans also sent Colonel Tom a London 2012 Olympic torch – believed to be the only one in existence that can still be lit – which the delighted veteran attempted to blow out.
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Editor, founder, Labour Heartlands, Citizen journalist. LeFT wing political refugee. Fighting a constant struggle with dyslexia that's overcome with a burning desire to speak out against the corrupt political system and the social injustices it creates. Advocate for Free speech and open, accountable, democracy. #GTTO