Captain Tom’s heart would have been broken by trolling, says daughter

Aine Fox and Caitlin Doherty

Captain Sir Tom Moore’s daughter said his heart would have been “broken” to hear about trolling the family received.

Hannah Ingram-Moore said she could not tell her 100-year-old father “people are hating us” after his mammoth fundraising efforts for the NHS.

She has spoken about her father’s days in hospital and their final family holiday to the Caribbean.

The Second World War veteran died at Bedford Hospital on February 2 after testing positive for Covid-19.

Sir Tom captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during the first lockdown when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS.

On the trolling, Ms Ingram-Moore told BBC Breakfast: “We really had to use our family resilience, our emotional resilience, and we never told him.

Hannah Ingram-Moore with his grandson Benjie and granddaughter Georgia
Hannah Ingram-Moore with Sir Tom’s grandson Benjie and granddaughter Georgia (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Because I don’t think he could ever have understood it. I think it would have broken his heart, honestly, if we’d said to him people are hating us.

“I couldn’t tell him, because how do you rationalise to a 100-year-old man that something so incredibly good can attract such horror? So we contained it within the four of us and we said that we won’t play to them, we’re not talking to those vile minority, we’re not, because we are talking to the massive majority of people who we just connect with.”

She said the trolling had become “pretty horrific” and “really did hurt”.

She added: “It really is really hard to deal with but we have dealt with it and they will not win.

“They will never make this amazing thing negative, not ever. We won’t let them.”

A hearing will take place on Wednesday at Lanark Sheriff Court in central Scotland after a 35-year-old man was charged in connection with an alleged offensive message posted on Twitter about Sir Tom.

Ms Ingram-Moore said her father had wanted to come home to steak and chips after he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.

She said: “I said to him in the last few days: ‘So, what do you want to eat when you come home?’ And we decided it was steak and chips.

“He was really excited about coming out for steak and chips and getting his frame back outside and his walker.

“The last real conversation was positive and about carrying on, and that’s a lovely place to be.”

Ms Ingram-Moore said that when Sir Tom went into hospital, the family “really all believed he’d come back out”.

“We thought the oxygen would help, that he would be robust enough, (but) the truth is he just wasn’t. He was old and he just couldn’t fight it,” she added, describing how she was dressed in full PPE while sitting next to him.

She said the pride in his lasting legacy “oozed out of him” and said he told her: “I’m coming back out, there’s more fundraising in me yet, I’m coming back out to walk.”

Amid her family’s sadness and the “deafening silence” they have to live with, she said she understands that members of the public are also grieving the loss of Sir Tom.

“It’s really, really hard, but the legacy is hope and joy,” she said.

Following his death, Buckingham Palace said the Queen would be sending a private message of condolence to Sir Tom’s family.

Ms Ingram-Moore said: “We had a lovely letter from her, and I think that she feels genuine loss. It’s another one of her generation.”

Before he died, the centenarian got to tick a holiday in the Caribbean off his bucket list when the family travelled to Barbados just before Christmas.

“It was just amazing,” Ms Ingram-Moore said.

“He sat in 29 degrees outside, he read two novels, he read the newspapers every day, and we sat and we talked as a family, we went to restaurants (because we could there) and he ate fish on the beach, and what a wonderful thing to do.

“I think we were all so pleased we managed to give him that.”

Hinting at the family’s hopes for the future, she said: “There are of course many exciting things to come and we look forward to sharing them with you.”

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