Veteran fundraiser Lloyd Scott, famous for completing endurance challenges in a deep sea diving suit, has paid tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore for bringing out “the very best of humanity”.
Mr Scott met Sir Tom ahead of what was due to be his very last challenge – scaling the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in his 130lb suit.
The 59-year-old said after meeting the centenarian, he thought it might be too early to hang up his lead boots.
Mr Scott told the PA news agency: “I joked this was intended to be my last fundraising challenge, and then we had a chuckle that he was a man that was now 100 years old that had just raised £33 million.
“(We said) perhaps there was one or two events left in me to still do and not to think of calling it a day and hanging up my lead boots quite so soon.”
Mr Scott said after his chat with Sir Tom it was “entirely possible” he and his deep sea diving suit might attempt yet more record-breaking feats.
Former firefighter Mr Scott, who has raised £5 million for charity over the past 30 years, said Sir Tom’s story had “touched the souls” of people around the world.
“It was the fact he was 99 and he wanted to do this before his 100th birthday,” Mr Scott said.
“Even at that age he wasn’t prepared to just accept (the situation) – he wanted to be out there and to help others.”
He continued: “Although the amount of money he raised was absolutely mind boggling, I think that his legacy was really how he touched the souls of everybody – not just in this country but around the world – and brought out the very best in humanity.
“I just think to have a legacy like that, as much money as you raise, you can’t put a price on it, it was just something that’s transcended everything that’s gone before.”
The very saddest of news😭. Captain Tom was a shining light, who inspired everyone; helping us cope through this dreadful time – battling this ghastly virus. A humble hero, his spirit touched the very soul and brought out the best in humanity. God bless you Tom and RIP 😇🙏.
— Lloyd Scott (@LloydScottMBE) February 2, 2021
Mr Scott had been due to race Sir Tom in his diving suit.
But the former army captain was “too much of a gentleman” to take the victory.
Mr Scott said: “It was arranged we should meet and I was going to race him and it was quite funny, bless him he was such an absolute gentleman and he was so humble.
“The idea was he was supposed to beat me, but as slow as I went and even when I stopped pretending I was out of breath he refused to go in front of me – he was far too much of gentleman to do that so we kind of called it a tie.
“Even at that stage of all the money that he’d raised, he’d been knighted it really didn’t affect him, he was still incredibly humble and a true gent.”
Mr Scott holds the record for the slowest-ever London Marathon time for taking more than five days and eight hours to complete the course in his diving suit in 2002.
He began his fundraising career in 1987 after being diagnosed with leukaemia while serving as a firefighter, and was made an MBE in recognition of his efforts in 2005.
His other feats include completing the world’s first-ever underwater marathon in Loch Ness – a challenge that took him 12 days – as well as completing the 2006 London Marathon in a suit of armour.
Mr Scott raises funds for youth cricket and disability sport charity The Lord’s Taverners, of whom Sir Tom was an honorary member.