Captain Tom Moore: RAF to perform official flypast to celebrate veteran's 100th birthday
Transport secretary says salute was 'meant to be a surprise'
Captain Tom Moore will be honoured with a military flypast to celebrate his 100th birthday, the transport secretary has announced.
On Tuesday Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, which had originally planned an aerial salute over Captain Moore’s home to mark the veteran’s milestone birthday, revealed that its plans had been cancelled by the Department for Transport over fears the event could attract too many spectators.
Now, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that an official flypast will take place on 30 April and that it will be performed by the RAF.
In a statement on Twitter, Mr Shapps said it was a “pity” the news had been shared publicly as the salute was “meant to be a surprise for Tom”.
It is not yet known which aircrafts will be involved in the fly over, but it is expected to take place over Captain Moore’s home in Marston Moretain, Bedfordshire.
The team at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar suggested that the RAF could be taking over the tribute in a Facebook post regarding the cancellation of its event.
“Sadly we’ve been unable to secure permission to perform a flypast with the ‘Spirit of Kent NHS Spitfire’ for Captain Tom’s 100th birthday on Thursday. Current general aviation restrictions are in place to prevent non-essential travel and in these current times safety is the most important factor,” the post read.
“Luckily the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are not bound by the same restrictions and are permitted to fly. It is our understanding that they are now picking up the baton to provide a flypast for Captain Tom.
“Getting a Spitfire overhead for Captain Tom was always the primary goal and we’re thrilled that this may still be possible. We wish the BBMF team the very best of luck and hope that the weather permits a flypast on the 30th of April.”
Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar has said that it will still fly The Spirit of Kent on a circuit around the Biggin Hill airfield at 8pm on Thursday, to coincide with the nation’s weekly “Clap for our Carers” event.
Its planned circuit will take it over the edge of the Princess Royal University Hospital, allowing another gesture towards patients and staff.
Following his success, a school in Bedfordshire has been flooded with more than 125,000 birthday cards from well-wishers across the globe.
In another tribute to Captain Moore, all mail sent from Monday will be stamped with a special postmark in his honour.
You can read more about how to send Captain Moore a birthday card here.