The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore has said he is “back in the place he considered home” after his ashes were buried in his family grave alongside his parents and grandparents.
The Second World War veteran and NHS charity fundraiser’s close relatives walked through a guard of honour made up of school children and organisations close to his heart to his final resting place in Morton Cemetery, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, on Monday.
After the simple ceremony to say a “final goodbye” his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said her father was immensely proud to come from Keighley, adding “completely and utterly, I felt like this is where he should be and the local community would look after him”.
Mrs Ingram-Moore chatted and shared stories with those in the honour guard along with her sister Lucy Teixeira, her children, Benjie and Georgia, and Sir Tom’s sons-in-law.
She told the PA news agency: “It was a day of joy, honestly. But I didn’t realise quite how emotional I would feel about it.”
Mrs Ingram-Moore said: “I couldn’t help but feel it was our final goodbye.
“He’d lived with us for nearly 14 years and so it really was the final moment.
“But completely and utterly, I felt like this is where he should be and the local community would look after him.”
She said: “For him to be back here in the hands and the arms of this local community, I know that made him so happy so, therefore, we’re really happy too.
“And to be back here in the place that he considered home. It didn’t matter where he was, this was still home to him.”
Mrs Ingram-Moore recalled a conversation with her father last year about planning for this moment and she said he cried when they decided he should be laid to rest in Keighley.
“It just seemed the right thing to do,” she said.
Around 50 representatives of the NHS, Royal British Legion, Scouts, Guides and many other groups lined the path of the cemetery, on the outskirts of Keighley.
The family were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson, and Keighley Town Chaplain, the Reverend Dr Jonathan Pritchard, who conducted a short service at the graveside as the ashes were placed in the ground.
The family carried out Sir Tom’s wishes and the words “I told you I was old” have been engraved on the 7ft high family memorial stone above the grave, under a silhouette image of the 100-year-old former Army officer.
Dr Pritchard told the PA news agency: “This is the most immense privilege to be here serving in this way in this last loving act for Captain Sir Tom Moore, here in Keighley.
“He was an extraordinary man who’s made a real significant difference in the life of our nation.
“He’s lifted our spirits and raised our vision about what is possible.
“So, I’m just very, very moved to be able to be here right at the very end and doing this.”
The family looked relaxed as they laughed and smiled with the community groups’ representatives and the children from schools across the Keighley area.
As well as the emergency services, more than a dozen organisations were represented at the cemetery including the Royal British Legion, Keighley Healthy Living, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Keighley Cougars rugby club and the Bangladeshi Community Association.
The honour guard arrived at the cemetery before the family on two vintage double-decker buses.
Sir Tom was born in Keighley in 1920 and brought up in the area. Many of those who gathered on Monday recalled his visit to the town last year at the height of his new-found fame.
The fundraiser served with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment during the Second World War. The regiment later merged with two others from Yorkshire, becoming the Yorkshire Regiment, and Sir Tom was made an honorary colonel last August.
He died aged 100 at Bedford Hospital on February 2 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Monday’s short ceremony marked the end of a remarkable 15-month journey for the Second World War veteran.
The event was distinctly low-key in contrast to Sir Tom’s funeral earlier this year which, despite his close family being the only mourners due to Covid restrictions, featured a fly-past and the military honour of a firing party.
Sir Tom captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during the first coronavirus lockdown when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS.
In acknowledgement of his fundraising, Sir Tom was knighted by the Queen during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle in summer 2020.
His 100th birthday celebrations last year included a Spitfire flypast and he was photographed punching the air as it went past.
Sir Tom also had a number one hit with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir with their recording of You’ll Never Walk Alone.