Parndon Wood Crematorium’s fundraising tribute to Captain Tom
Staff at Parndon Wood Cemetery & Crematorium are honouring pandemic hero Captain Sir Tom Moore by raising money in his memory on what would have been his 101st birthday on 30 April.
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, including Parndon Wood Crematorium, is challenging staff at its 35 sites nationwide, to come up with creative ways of supporting the Captain Tom Foundation.
The group has also set up a Just Giving page and is inviting anyone from the communities served by them to pay their own tribute to Sir Tom by donating, perhaps in memory of their own loved ones.
The eight-strong team at Parndon Wood Crematorium look set to be piling on some pounds in order to raise pounds, with two weeks of cake baking and eating, led by site manager Caroline Lowe, who describes herself as a ‘hobby baker’.
She said: “I will be baking, and staff, Funeral Directors and celebrants can purchase the cakes for a charitable donation if they wish.
“We started on Monday 19 April and I have been bringing cakes in as and when since then and will continue to until what would have been Captain Tom’s 101st birthday, on 30 April.
“This is also my son’s 21st birthday, so I will have to make him a cake, too.”
She added that at least one team member has found a way to counter all the cakes that will be consumed.
“Jan Brown in the office has said she will walk 10,000 steps per day in the run up to 30 April, covering 100,000 steps in total, which we hope people will think is also worthy of a donation.”
She said the decision to bake and sell cakes to raise money was an easy one, because “everyone likes cake, although I’m not taking any responsibility for any weight gain.
“This is such a worthy cause. The Captain Tom Foundation raises money for charities which were close to his heart, including several which support people, and their families, with life-limiting illnesses and who are facing or coping with bereavement, which is also close to our hearts.”
Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the hearts of the nation during the Coronavirus pandemic when he raised an amazing £38.9m for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday.
He also had a number one hit UK single, with a new version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which he recorded with Michael Ball.
His efforts also earned him two Guinness World Records, for raising the most amount of money in an individual charity walk and being the oldest person to top the UK singles charts.
On 17 July 2020 he was knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital after being treated for pneumonia and then testing positive for Covid-19.
The Captain Tom Foundation was launched in May 2020 to ensure his inspiring message of hope, and that “tomorrow will be a good day”, becomes a lasting legacy.
The Foundation is running the Captain Tom 100 campaign to coincide with what would have been his 101st birthday, challenging people to undertake fundraising challenges around the word 100, whether it be baking 100 cakes, walking 100 metres, writing 100 letters or anything else they can come up with.
Caroline added “Unfortunately, lockdown restrictions mean we are still not able to invite people to our crematorium to take part in any fundraising activities directly, but anyone in the community who has used our crematorium can still be part of our fundraising effort, by making a donation to our new Just Giving page.
“The senior leadership team at Westerleigh has got our fundraising started with a £500 donation.
“Through the efforts of our colleagues and the support of our communities, Westerleigh Group wants to be able to make a meaningful donation to the Captain Tom Foundation to mark what would have been in his 101st birthday.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so through Westerleigh Group’s Just Giving page, mentioning Parndon Wood Crematorium in their donation message. The page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westerleigh-group