Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the hearts of the nation through his inspirational fundraising efforts for the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

His laps of the garden at his home in Marston Moretaine raised around £33 million for the NHS in its fight against the pandemic.

This remarkable achievement undoubtedly turned Captain Sir Tom into a national hero at what was a difficult time for so many of us.

I was really honoured that Bedfordshire Police officers and other emergency services in the county were able to pay him a personal visit and give our thanks for all that he did.

I am sure many of us also felt great sadness at the news of his death earlier this month, though his achievements and sense of public service will continue to be felt for a long time to come.

Given his incredible achievements, we understand that people may want to pay their respects to him at his funeral this weekend close to his Bedfordshire home.

However, we would ask people to continue to support the NHS by staying at home and not attending the funeral on Saturday, as has been requested by Captain Sir Tom’s family.

People may see a police presence as we help and support the family to ensure it passes off as smoothly as possible.

But we really want to take a back seat and hope that everyone will honour Captain Sir Tom in a way that respects the fact we are still in a global pandemic, with high coronavirus infection rates still with us here in Bedfordshire.

An online book of condolence has been set up in his honour, while people can also donate to The Captain Tom Foundation, plant a tree in his memory or donate to a charity of your choice.

This includes a local Bedfordshire book of condolence that was set up jointly by the Lord Lieutenant, the Bishop of Bedford and the Bishop of St Albans, which sits on a local church website.

Thank you everyone for your support.

Inspector Louise Bates
Community Policing
Bedfordshire Police