“Tomorrow will be a good day” is the expression of hope for the future which many of us associate with the late Captain Tom Moore. He caught the public’s eye when, one hundred years of age, he set out to raise some money for the NHS by walking round his garden with his Zimmer-frame, this was in gratitude for the care he received during a life-threatening illness. Caught up by the media, the few hundred pounds he had hoped to raise became millions.
Captain Tom’s autobiography of 2020 came to my attention after his death because he was well-known for his roots in Keighley, my own home town, and I discovered that he and my father had both served in the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, although I don’t know that they ever met. It was fascinating to learn about his grandfather (who was a noted Keighley builder in late Victorian times) and his family, who lived and worked in the town over the following fifty years. Captain Tom was brought up in one of the houses that his grandfather built, but the thing that was really astonishing was to find that it was the same house that Nikki and I moved into after our wedding in 1970 and where we and our family lived for forty years.
Further on my attention was caught by Captain Tom’s description of his homecoming on short leave in March 1945, following service with the regiment in Burma and in India. He wrote, “I arrived at Keighley station to find my father waiting for me. When I reached home, the first thing that I noticed was that he had hoisted the Union Jack to mark my return and to tell the town ‘Our Tom’s home’”.
Forty years after that I was in our loft when I came across the Union Jack, neatly rolled up on its flag-pole under years of dust. Unaware of its history, we used it to help us to celebrate events such as our late Queen’s notable birthdays and Jubilees and we brought it to Wardington when we left the house in Keighley. Only recently, on reading his book in 2020, did I realise that this is the same flag that Tom’s father bought to welcome Tom home in 1945.
Faded though it is, the flag will fly on the Greensward bus shelter for the Coronation, before being stored carefully to await the next appropriate event.
To us it celebrates the spirit of Captain Tom and his gratitude to the staff of the NHS.
Reference: ‘Tomorrow will be a Good Day’ by Captain Tom. Penguin 2021 .