Villagers pay tribute to their neighbour Captain Tom

Sam Russell, PA

Floral tributes have been laid at the gate to Captain Sir Tom Moore’s family home in Bedfordshire as villagers paid their respects to the Second World War veteran and NHS fundraiser.

Sir Tom lived in the village of Marston Moretaine with one of his daughters.

Neighbours paid tribute to him after he died at Bedford Hospital on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19.

Floral tributes left outside the home of Sir Tom
Floral tributes left outside the home of Sir Tom

One bouquet of flowers left outside his family home had a message on it which read “Rest in peace Captain Tom. We love you.”

Jonny Taylor, 28, who left a bunch of flowers outside the family home, said: “I’ve lived in Marston for about five years now and I had no idea about Captain Tom until his heroic efforts last April.

“I just wanted to pay respects to the remarkable person and the remarkable family as well. He will be sorely missed.”

He recalled the celebrations for Sir Tom’s 100th birthday on April 30 last year, during the first lockdown, with a Spitfire flypast over the village and birthday messages displayed outside people’s homes and in shop windows.

“I came out for the Spitfire occasion for his birthday,” said Mr Taylor.

“I took some footage, people lined the streets, I live about a mile down the road.

“It was all socially distanced throughout the whole street to celebrate his 100th birthday.

“It was a real uplifting moment in a difficult time over the last year or so.”

Captain Sir Tom Moore death
A family leaves a floral tribute outside the home in Marston Moretaine, (Jacob King/PA)

Tony Perreira, 50, of Marston Moretaine, who also laid a floral tribute, described Sir Tom as “a legend, inspiring, a hero”.

“What he’s done for the country is amazing, absolutely amazing,” he said.

“I was out here on Thursdays for clapping and on his birthday – I was out here clapping that evening as it worked out that his 100th birthday was on a Thursday.

“There was about 100 people out here, it was quite nice actually.

“He brought people together across the world, it’s just unbelievable.”

He said that Sir Tom’s death has “hit everybody really”.

Postbox tribute to Captain Sir Tom
A postbox was painted blue to mark the 100th birthday of Sir Tom close to the home in Marston Moretaine (PA)

Darren Cook, 54, of Marston Moretaine, said: “He was a legend, he was a good guy.

“I never knew him personally but what we heard from him and what he did – we all feel the same I think.”

The small Post Office in the village handled more than 200,000 cards, letters and gifts that were sent to Sir Tom for his 100th birthday last year, and the post box outside was painted NHS blue in honour of Sir Tom.

Marston Moretaine postmaster Bill Chandi, who was friends with Sir Tom, said his death was a “sad loss for everybody really, the whole country and the world”.

“A very superb man has gone from our lives now,” he said.

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