The funeral service for Captain Sir Tom Moore is under way as the veteran and NHS charity fundraiser was being laid to rest.
Sir Tom’s coffin was carried to Bedford Crematorium on Saturday by soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment, where a small service will be held with eight members of his immediate family – his two daughters, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, his four grandchildren and his sons-in-law.
A Second World War-era C-47 Dakota, part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which operates from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, will perform a flypast over the funeral service.
Singer Michael Buble has also recorded a version of the song Smile to be played at the funeral, while the charity single Sir Tom recorded with Michael Ball, You’ll Never Walk Alone, which reached number one in the UK singles charts in April last year, will also be played, along with The White Cliffs Of Dover by Dame Vera Lynn and I Vow To Thee My Country by Alfie Boe.
Sir Tom captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during the first coronavirus lockdown when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS.
He died at Bedford Hospital on February 2 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Sir Tom’s 100th birthday celebrations last year included a Spitfire flypast, and he was photographed punching the air as it went past.
The fundraiser served with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment during the Second World War.
The regiment later merged with two others from Yorkshire, becoming the Yorkshire Regiment, and Sir Tom was made an honorary colonel last August.
A firing party of 14 will each fire three rounds in unison, and a bugler will sound The Last Post at the end of the private service.
Six representatives from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, where Sir Tom was made an honorary colonel, will then form a ceremonial guard.
There are plans to plant trees around the world in his honour, with Ms Teixeira hoping that the Trees for Tom initiative will result in a wood in his home county of Yorkshire and the reforestation of part of India, where he served during the Second World War.
Sir Tom asked that his epitaph reads: “I told you I was old”, in reference to comedian Spike Milligan’s famous epitaph: “I told you I was ill.”
Once Covid-19 restrictions permit, the family will inter Sir Tom’s ashes in Yorkshire, with his parents and grandparents in the Moore family plot.