Captain Sir Tom Moore believed he would survive his hospital stay and live to see his 101st birthday, his daughter has revealed.
The 100-year-old Second World War veteran died on 2 February at Bedford Hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.
According to Hannah Ingram-Moore, he told nurses: “I’m coming back out, I’ve got a lot of fundraising to do, I’ve got my birthday celebration.
“While he was in those last few days in the hospital I don’t think he ever thought he wouldn’t come out, he never talks like that. We laughed and we had lovely times reminiscing, we reminisced incredibly about the crazy times of the last year.”
Captain Sir Tom was admitted to hospital on 31 January after testing positive for COVID-19 the week before.
He had not received a vaccine, despite being in the highest priority age group, as he was also being treated for pneumonia.
The announcement of his death on 3 February was met with an outpouring of tributes after he won the hearts of the nation with the £32m he helped raise for the NHS.
His death came as an incredible shock, his daughter said, adding: “None of us could have planned for what happened. My father definitely did not expect not to be here. That’s just a fact.”
Ms Ingram-Moore was speaking as her family launched a new campaign encouraging people to celebrate Captain Sir Tom’s spirit of generosity by taking on their own “Captain Tom 100” charity challenge.
People are being asked to undertake a challenge associated with the number 100 between 30 April and Bank Holiday Monday on 3 May to raise money for charity.
Challenges could include walking 100 steps, scoring 100 goals, baking 100 cakes or writing a 100-word poem – this could be anything as long as it is in line with current government social distancing guidelines.
Ms Ingram-Moore said she “really regrets” that her father didn’t live to experience his 101st birthday celebrations, but he would have been “so proud” of all the good achieved in his name.
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