The prime minister has encouraged the nation to join in a “national clap” to honour the life of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson urged people across the country to join in with the event at 6pm on Wednesday to pay tribute to Moore and the healthcare workers he raised money for..
“We all now have the opportunity to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in,” Johnson said.
A statement from Moore’s family said they were incredibly touched by the suggestion of a national “Clap for Tom” and would be taking part “with huge love in their hearts for their father, grandfather and father-in-law”.
MPs observed a minute’s silence in memory of Moore and others who have lost their lives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic before prime minister’s questions.
The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said of Moore: “His dignity and determination in raising money to support the NHS charities caught the nation’s mood at the most difficult time. He exemplified the best of our values.”
Earlier, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said Moore’s contribution would be marked formally. Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “I will ensure we mark his contribution properly and appropriately at the right moment.”
He also suggested a statue could be erected to honour Moore. When asked whether one might be built “in possibly his home town or where he was born or in London”, Hancock told LBC: “Yes, I do think that we should find a way, at the right time, to honour the contribution that he made to the NHS as he was an inspiration to so many people.”
There have been a number of calls for official recognition of Moore’s life, with Carol Vorderman, the host of the Pride of Britain awards – which honoured Moore last year – saying he “deserves a stone in Westminster Abbey”.
The flag above 10 Downing Street was flown at half mast on Tuesday evening, while landmarks including the London Eye, Wembley Stadium and Blackpool Tower were lit up and a tribute was broadcast on the billboard lights at Piccadilly Circus.
A number of floral tributes were left outside the gate of Moore’s family home in the village of Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, with one message reading “Rest in peace Captain Tom. We love you”.
Moore set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday last April. His efforts struck a chord with the nation and donations flooded in, with almost £33m raised.
In acknowledgement, he was knighted by the Queen during a unique open-air ceremony at Windsor Castle last summer.
His story travelled all over the world, with the White House paying tribute following his passing. “We join the United Kingdom and the world in honouring the memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who inspired millions through his life and his actions,” the official White House account tweeted.
Ellie Orton, the chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said Moore “lifted the spirits of an entire nation” and demonstrated that “you’re never too old, you’re never too anything to care for people and to make a difference”.
She said: “He really was a beacon of hope; the optimism that he brought in and hope to us in a really dark and difficult time for this nation, and particularly for the NHS, is just incredible. He is held in such amazing high regard, he is a national hero and his legacy will live on in the NHS for years and years to come.”