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Sir Tom Moore: Highland fundraiser, 90, inspired by ‘national hero’ leads north tributes

Highland fundraiser Margaret Payne pays tribute to Sir Tom Moore
Highland fundraiser Margaret Payne pays tribute to Sir Tom Moore

Tributes have been paid across the north and north-east to Captain Sir Tom Moore, led by 90-year-old Margaret Payne who was inspired by the centenarian to undertake her own impressive fundraising effort.

While Sir Tom walked 100 lengths of his garden up to his 100th birthday – raising an astonishing £32million for the NHS – Margaret decided to climb the equivalent of the Suilven mountain in the Highlands.

The pensioner from Ardvar, Sutherland, wanted to make a difference for others while shielding from the pandemic – and has so far raised £450,000 for NHS Charities Together and Highland Hospice.

Last month she was herself awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for her efforts.

She said: “It is very sad Sir Tom has died as he had done such wonderful things.

“For someone to fight through Burma in the Second World War to then go on to do this wonderful thing for the NHS at 100 is amazing.

“How many people of his age are capable of doing something so wonderful?”

She added: “He inspired me to do my fundraising and he was an example to us all. His family must be very proud of him.”

Mrs Payne is hoping the money she has herself raised can be used to build a two-bed medical unit in Lochinver so that people in the west of Sutherland do not have to travel to Inverness for basic treatment.

Her efforts were also in recognition of the support received from the NHS and Highland Hospice over the years, including for her late husband Jim who died on Christmas Day.

Floral tributes to Captain Sir Tom Moore were yesterday laid at the village green near the house where he lived with one of his daughters and her family.

The Second World War veteran, who died at Bedford Hospital on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19, lived in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire.

A steady stream of well-wishers laid flowers at the village green in Marston Moretaine on Wednesday, with dozens piled up by lunchtime.

At 6pm, a national clap took place in recognition of his heroic service both in the field of war and fundraising.

The House of Commons had earlier fallen silent in tribute to Sir Tom ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs the centenarian had dedicated his life to serving others.

He said: “We all now have the opportunity to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen and Inverness city councils flew the Union Flag atop their Town Houses at half mast.

Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “Sir Tom was an inspirational man who will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.

“We can all pay tribute to Sir Tom by continuing to follow Scottish Government guidance and stay safe.”

Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett added: “We are all profoundly moved by the sad death of Captain Tom.

“It underlines just how much he brought the whole nation together.

“He was a great spirit of optimism to get ourselves moving in the aftermath of this and we are enormously thankful not just for his practical contribution to NHS Charities Together but the message he shared.”

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