How Captain Tom went from Blankety Blank guest to GQ cover star in his rise to national treasure

CAPTAIN Sir Tom Moore became a national treasure last year as he raised millions for the NHS and became GQ's oldest cover star.

But the war veteran and NHS hero leaves a century-long legacy behind – complete with an appearance on Terry Wogan's Blankety Blank back in the 80s.

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The popular comedy game show saw two contestants compete to match the answers of six celebrity panellists as they filled in blanks on a selection of statements or phrases.

And Captain Tom walked away with the famous cheque book and pen – a consolation prize for anyone who failed to win the show's "fabulous prizes" – after taking part in a Christmas special of the game show in 1983.

The nation's hero passed away yesterday morning after fighting Covid and pneumonia at Bedford Hospital.

While on Blankety Blank, he told host Terry Wogan that his "girls" Lucy and Hannah would be watching from home, aged just 16 and 14 at the time.

Yesterday, Hannah and Lucy said in a statement that the last year of their dad’s life was "nothing short of remarkable".

They said he was "rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of".

The former soldier inspired the nation during the first Covid lockdown last year with his campaign to raise £1,000 for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden.

Captain Tom, who fought in a tank regiment against the Japanese in Burma, smashed his target within a few days and had soon raked in more than £38million.

He went on to be knighted by the Queen in July – a day he described as one of the proudest of his life.

And at the start of this year, he became the oldest cover star for British GQ magazine.

The 100-year-old was pictured on the cover draped in a Union Jack with medals pinned to his tux and was named Inspiration Of The Year in the men’s mag awards.

Captain Sir Tom Moore is the absolute embodiment of our Inspiration award for 2020.

Of his attitude to life, he said in the issue: "Negative thoughts don't seem to be part of me.

"I always think of the beneficial things."

GQ editor Dylan Jones said: "If this year shows us anything, it's that hope can come from the places you wouldn't expect.

"Captain Sir Tom Moore is the absolute embodiment of our Inspiration award for 2020."

The dad-of-two was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in April 1920.

He completed an apprenticeship as a civil engineer before joining the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, part of the Royal Armoured corps, and fought in the 1942-3 Arakan campaign in WW2.

In 1940 he was selected for officer training and was posted in the 9 DWR in India.

He then returned to the UK to train tank crews at Bovington, Wiltshire and continued his hobby as a motocross rider.

After the war Captain Tom returned to civilian life and married Pamela who was 15 years his junior.

He lived with daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her family in Bedfordshire since the death of his wife, Pamela, in 2006.


The PM spoke to Tom's daughter Hannah yesterday to offer his condolences and support, while the Union Flag was lowered to half mast above No10.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Royal Family said the Queen had sent her condolences to Captain Tom's family.

A spokesperson said: "The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

"Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year.

"Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them."

And the PM said: "Captain Sir Tom Moore was a hero in the truest sense of the word. In the dark days of the Second World War he fought for freedom and in the face of this country's deepest post war crisis he united us all, he cheered us all up, and he embodied the triumph of the human spirit. 

"It is quite astonishing that at the age of 100 he raised more than £32 million for the NHS, and so gave countless others their own chance to thank the extraordinary men and women who have protected us through the pandemic.

"He became not just a national inspiration but a beacon of hope for the world. Our thoughts are with his daughter Hannah and all his family. "

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