A 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than £18m for the NHS has been hailed as a “one-man fundraising machine” by the Duke of Cambridge.
BBC – Captain Tom Moore originally aimed to raise just £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
More than 890,000 people have now made donations to his JustGiving page.
More than half a million people have called for Capt Tom to be knighted in a petition to the Honours Committee.
The petition, which was set up earlier this week, has received more than 505,000 signatures after his efforts grabbed the nation’s attention.
As he finished the challenge on Thursday, Capt Tom said it was “an absolutely fantastic sum of money”.
In a tweet, he said he would be doing “less walking” on Friday but would be talking to TV channels in the United States, Argentina, Europe and the Middle East.
Speaking to BBC Radio 2 he said the sum of money was “absolutely enormous” and “very difficult to imagine”. He also thanked everyone who had donated for their support.
“I say thank you very much indeed. I appreciate it because the object for which we’re donating is so important and so necessary… I think you’re all so kind and thoughtful contributing to this cause,” he said.
The total includes an undisclosed donation from the Duke of Cambridge, who with the Duchess of Cambridge recorded a special video message for the veteran.
Prince William said: “It’s amazing and what I love also is that he’s a 99-year-old war vet.
“He’s been around a long time, he knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination.
“He’s a one-man fundraising machine and God knows what the final total will be. But good on him, and I hope it keeps going.”
In response, Capt Tom said: “It’s absolutely amazing that my super prince can say something like that.”
He also said it was “a moment we will never forget”.
Capt Tom, who is originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, has seemingly risen from nowhere to the status of near national treasure.
Keighley Town Council has tweeted that it will “honour the fundraising hero” with the freedom of the town.
Tributes and messages of congratulations have continued to pour in, including from sporting stars.
England football team captain, Harry Kane, said: “You’ve been a huge help for the NHS who really need it at this vital time so you’re a true inspiration.”
F1 champion Lewis Hamilton said he was “blown away by his amazing achievement” and “we could all learn something” from him.
Capt Tom began raising funds to thank NHS staff who helped him with treatment for cancer and a broken hip.
With the aid of a walking frame, he completed 100 laps of the 25-metre (82ft) loop in his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, in 10-lap chunks well before his birthday on 30 April.
NHS Charities Together said it was “truly inspired and humbled” by his efforts.