The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore have officially opened the new garden of a children’s hospice, which was created with the help of a “significant” donation from the charity set up as part of his legacy.
Second World War veteran Captain Tom captured the nation’s imagination with his fundraising at the height of the first coronavirus lockdown last year as he set out to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
He raised £38.9 million for the NHS, including Gift Aid, with the money given to NHS Charities Together.
Before his death on February 2 this year, he and his family set up the Captain Tom Foundation with the motto of “inspiring hope where it is needed most”.
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said the foundation was created in May 2020, launched in September and “started with nothing”.
She said that thanks to the “incredible generosity” of those who donated, the foundation was able to help fund a new garden at a children’s hospice in Oxford.
Captain Tom’s family officially opened the garden at Helen and Douglas House on Wednesday.
It has water features, a wheelchair swing, a bubble machine and covered areas for families to treasure time together.
Ms Ingram-Moore said it was “sensational” to see the finished garden and that her father “would have loved it”.
She added: “This is the first project that we’ve seen truly come to life, that we have with Covid restrictions been able to visit.”
She said Captain Tom raised £38.9 million “in three-and-a-half weeks and that almost certainly as I’ve been told by people will never happen again in our lifetime”.
She added: “It was a phenomenon.
“We’re not now at the stage where we have the capability to raise millions, but we are able to raise money that creates meaningful difference and that feels just so special.
“My father would be just so proud.
“If he could have come (to the garden) he would have loved it.
“He would have loved seeing the children, he would have loved seeing that there was a space for the children and their parents while they’re going through the most emotionally difficult time, that they have somewhere that they can enjoy being together.”
Andrea Lambert, director of clinical services at Helen and Douglas House, said the new garden was made possible by a “significant” donation from the Captain Tom Foundation, and with the help of “incredibly kind” local businessman Darren Field and volunteers who donated their time and expertise.
“The best thing about the garden is children get to have loads of fun in it,” she said. “It’s so child-centred now.”
She said the garden is also a place where “families can have tranquillity while their child’s ill and particularly for bereaved families after their child has died”.
A project to make paths more wheelchair-friendly developed into a full update of the garden, adding covered areas, she said.
“The pandemic was the driver to do things differently and having a garden is an extension of our therapeutic space,” said Ms Lambert, who described the work as a “real DIY SOS-type event”.
Helen and Douglas House was founded in 1982 and delivers care and support for children with life-limiting illnesses across the Thames Valley.
It currently cares for around 160 children, and the charity also continues to support bereaved families for as long as they need it.
It needs to raise £3.6 million each year to continue to deliver its services.