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Basildon Crematorium’s fundraising tribute to Captain Tom

Basildon Crematorium’s fundraising tribute to Captain Tom

Basildon Crematorium’s fundraising tribute to Captain Tom

Staff at Basildon and District 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 Basildon 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 team at Basildon Crematorium hope to enjoy some prolonged peace and quiet as part of their fund-raising effort, after self-confessed office chatterbox Zoe-Nikita Medcalf agreed to take up the challenge of a sponsored silence for a whole day on Thursday 29 April.

Crematorium Assistant Zoe-Nikita, 35, has worked at the Basildon site for nearly three years.

Site manager Peter Hayden said: “It has been decided that Zoe-Nikita will do a sponsored silence and we, and our Funeral Directors, will be happy to pay for the privilege!

“The reaction from our Funeral Directors has been very interesting, as nobody believes she is going to be able to go all day without saying a word, but it will hopefully be a fantastically tranquil way of adding some cash to the pot!”

 Zoe-Nikita added: “It’s going to be a real challenge because I love nothing more than talking every two seconds! But I’ll be using paper notes to communicate with everyone from 7.45am until 5pm that day.

“I was a true fan of Captain Tom, so I feel very privileged to be able to undertake a challenge in his honour.”

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.

Peter Hayden added: “The Captain Tom Foundation raises money for charities and organisations 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.

“This resonates with our work, which is why Westerleigh Group and Basildon Crematorium were keen to support the foundation and honour Captain Tom’s 101st birthday.

“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 Basildon Crematorium in their donation message. The page can be found at  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westerleigh-group

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