By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
The great nephew of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden, has today praised scientists at St George’s University in Tooting for their coronavirus research.
Dr Adam Briki studied medicine at St George’s and is now a paediatric trainee doctor at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill.
He said his great uncle’s fundraising efforts have meant the world to healthcare teams across the country by helping to create dedicated areas for hospital staff to rest and recover after treating coronavirus patients, and providing iPads to elderly patients being treated in hospital who cannot see family members face-to-face.
“Uncle Tom is a man who remembers a time before the NHS, who has had to go through very difficult times in the Second World War, so it is fitting that he is rallying for us to come together for the good of the organisation,” he said.
“It has meant that those most affected by having to treat Covid-19 patients now have areas where they can rest and relax.
“This is exactly what uncle Tom had intended the money raised to be used for – to help those staff who are working on the front line during this very challenging and emotionally demanding time.”
Dr Briki said his uncle “has always had an intense love for the NHS and thinks it is the best institution in the country”.
“Everything he has done for the NHS comes back to supporting patients and staff.
“He has the NHS to thank for two knee replacements and a hip replacement, and we are very grateful for the fast work of NHS staff to diagnose his mole as skin cancer and work diligently to treat it,” he said.
Speaking about the St George’s Coronavirus Action Fund, which helps experts contribute to international efforts to tackle the virus, Dr Briki said: “This research strives to help us understand this threat to public health.
“Working in the background, researchers are helping us to learn more about the implications of the disease and how we can investigate it.
“Throughout the last few weeks, research has fuelled important decisions, from lockdown measures to how we work together to fight coronavirus both nationally and internationally.”
Former British Army officer Captain Moore began plans to walk 100 lengths of his garden following a conversation with his niece at a family barbecue, where she pledged to give him £1 for every length of the garden he completed.
A family WhatsApp group was set up to spread the word about his challenge, which was also shared with friends.
Within one day, Captain Moore had already hit his target of £1,000.
He had already reached £3,000 by day three, and his fundraiser quickly gained momentum.
He has gone on to raise more than £32 million for the NHS and has received a Knighthood and the Freedom of the City of London.
He said: “I was delighted to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London. And Adam was so proud to tell me that Edward Jenner also received this award. It seems wonderful to be given the same award as the father of the vaccinations.
“Jenner stamped out smallpox and I have no doubt that this generation of researchers will beat this new virus with a new vaccine. And they will find it. Tomorrow will be a good day.”
Captain Tom continues to fight for causes dear to him, and has set up the Captain Tom Foundation to help combat old age loneliness and support hospices.
Proceeds from the autobiography and children’s book he is writing will go towards these causes.
To donate to the St George’s Coronavirus Action Fund click here https://www.sgul.ac.uk/research/our-impact/coronavirus-action-fund
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