This week, Britain lost a true national hero. In Captain Sir Tom Moore we had an individual who, in the midst of a pandemic that alarmed many of us, provided a beacon of hope and inspiration.

All of us saw him on television doing laps around his garden, with the original aim of raising £1,000 for our beloved NHS. This is the NHS that had saved his life when he was terribly ill a few years earlier.

His story touched the nation’s hearts. Reading about his daily care and devotion to his late wife showed a man with the character which we should all admire.

His determination and selflessness caught our imagination, and he ended up raising a record £33 million. It is a measure of the affection in which he was held that 150,000 cards poured in on his 100th birthday. He was rightly knighted for his efforts.

A Second World War veteran and a grandfather, he had already gone above and beyond in protecting his country during an exceptional era which saw us overcome the obstacles of hatred and war.

With the NHS suffering unprecedented pressure, coping with deficient PPE and shortages, underfunding and the consequences of late lockdowns, Captain Sir Tom’s efforts were greatly appreciated by us all.

He inspired thousands of volunteers across the country to do their bit to help during this current crisis. Be it stepping in to provide free school meals, picking up prescriptions, sheltering the homeless or helping out at vaccination centres.

We all need to follow Captain Sir Tom Moore and do what we can to help others and the NHS. This means when the time comes, getting vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbours - it’s the only way we can get out of this.

  • Cllr Nigel Bell is leader of Watford Labour Group