Test Valley Crematorium’s fundraising tribute to Captain Tom
Staff at Test Valley Crematorium are honouring pandemic hero Captain Sir Tom Moore by raising money in his memory on what would have been his 101st birthday on 30 April.
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, including Test Valley Crematorium, is challenging staff at its 35 sites nationwide, to come up with creative ways of supporting the Captain Tom Foundation.
The group has also set up a Just Giving page and is inviting anyone from the communities served by them to pay their own tribute to Sir Tom by donating, perhaps in memory of their own loved ones.
Test Valley Crematorium site manager Rob Metcalf is going to run 100 laps around the site’s car park to raise money.
Rob, 35, who has worked for Westerleigh Group for six years, hopes the challenge will take around two-and-a-half hours, and will see him cover around 16 miles.
He usually runs between three and five miles most evenings, and Sunday runs of around 13 miles.
He said: “The biggest challenge will be the monotony of running around a relatively small car park 100 times, so I think it will be quite tough mentally.”
His team will be cheering him on, and he’ll be handed a wristband at the end of each lap so everyone will be able to keep count and ensure he completes the full 100.
He also said he’ll be doing it come rain or shine. “I’m doing the run on Monday 26 April and it’s a fixed date, regardless of the weather. Sir Tom would still be out there, so I won’t stop until all 100 laps have been completed, even if I have to crawl the last few.
“I’m honoured to be able to do something to support the Foundation. I remember seeing Sir Tom on television and it blew me away. He’s a national hero and highly inspirational.”
Captain Tom captured the hearts of the nation during the Coronavirus pandemic when he raised an amazing £38.9m for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday.
He also had a number one hit UK single, with a new version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which he recorded with Michael Ball.
His efforts also earned him two Guinness World Records, for raising the most amount of money in an individual charity walk and being the oldest person to top the UK singles charts.
On 17 July 2020 he was knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital after being treated for pneumonia and then testing positive for Covid-19.
The Captain Tom Foundation was launched in May 2020 to ensure his inspiring message of hope, and that “tomorrow will be a good day”, becomes a lasting legacy.
The Foundation is running the Captain Tom 100 campaign to coincide with what would have been his 101st birthday, challenging people to undertake fundraising challenges around the word 100.
The money will be donated by the Foundation to charities and organisations which were close to Captain’ Tom’s heart, including several which support people, and their families, with life limiting illnesses and who are facing or coping with bereavement.
Rob said: “This resonates with our work, which is why Westerleigh Group and Test Valley Crematorium were keen to support the Foundation and honour Captain Tom’s 101st birthday.
“Anyone in the community who has used our crematorium can support our fundraising effort, by making a donation to our new Just Giving page. I am hoping this could turn into an annual event, with many more participants in the future, when we won’t have lockdown restrictions. But in the meantime, I’d be very grateful to anyone who makes a donation in support of such a good cause.
“The senior leadership team at Westerleigh has got our fundraising started with a £500 donation.
“Through the efforts of our colleagues and the support of our communities, Westerleigh Group wants to be able to make a meaningful donation to the Captain Tom Foundation to mark what would have been in his 101st birthday.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so through Westerleigh Group’s Just Giving page, mentioning Test Valley Crematorium in their donation message. The page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westerleigh-group