Captain Sir Tom Moore has said seeing his late wife’s struggle with loneliness as she was treated in hospital struck him “right to the heart”.
Pamela, the Second World War veteran’s spouse of more than 50 years, died in 2006 after developing a form of dementia.
The centenarian, who in April raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden, said seeing elderly patients without their own visitors had affected him deeply.
Speaking about how lockdown must have been for those by themselves, he told The Big Issue: “I’m sure it would have been very, very difficult.
“My wife was in hospital for a long time – several years. One day she said to me, ‘If you didn’t come and see me, I would be very lonely’. That struck me right to the heart.
“But where she was there were also loads of elderly people who never, ever had visitors, day after day, year after year. They must have been very, very lonely on their own.
“If you’re an old person, virtually housebound, unless you have a good neighbour or a good service who will help, it must be very, very difficult.
“They might not be old. Disabled people, those who are really short of income, living on the breadline. That is also difficult.
“We’ve got to look after one another from the beginning to the end.”
Sir Tom has previously spoken of how a second lockdown would be “disaster” for the elderly as they would be left without family members to meet up with.
He also addressed a year in which he became a household name, penned an autobiography, scored a number one single and was knighted by the Queen.
He said: “I mean, before it all started I was just Tom Moore and I’m still the same person.
“Nothing’s changed. Don’t believe I’m some mystic person. I’m not. I’m still just Tom Moore who’s doing his best, trying to help as much as I can.”
Speaking about his autobiography, he said: “I just hope that when people read the book they won’t decide to sue me for some things I’ve said about them.
“So many things have happened, I don’t know what will surprise people. It surprises me that I’ve written the book at all.”
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