By Jacqui Deevoy
Bedfordshire freemason Sir Tom Moore, the old fella who famously raised a pile of cash for the NHS, popped his clogs today. Bless him: at 100 years old, he had a good innings.
Knighted for his efforts, centenarian Tom died WITH Covid. (Funny how the actual cause of his death – pneumonia – gets lost in the headlines.) If you’re interested in numbers, you may want to note that his death occurred on the 33rdday of the year. He also raised £33m – ooh, that number again: a good one for the Coincidence Theorists! – for the NHS, 2% of which was kept by Just Giving, the “tech-for-good” fundraising company that was rumoured to have links with Sir Tom’s daughter’s company Maytrix. This was, of course, denied.
Speculation and cynical suspicions aside, the man lived a long and productive life, fathering his daughter Hannah Ingram Moore at the ripe old age of 50. What alarmed me most when I saw a news story from the Telegraph this morning, however, was the fact that the article showed Sir Tom, surrounded by his smiling family in hospital. “In HOSPITAL?” you say? “Surely not! Visitors aren’t allowed in hospitals.” And you’d be right.
For the past 11 months, tens of thousands of people in the UK have died alone and terrified in hospitals thanks to government guidelines (masquerading as laws) instructing people to stay away from their poorly loved ones, just in case… just in case of what? Does anyone even know any more? The public were livid.
No one begrudges Sir Tom end-of-life time with his family – every human deserves that – but they’re gutted at the unfairness of it all! How was HE allowed to have his family with him when THEY weren’t? As a journalist, I went to the papers immediately with a pitch. I asked whether I could write a piece about this peculiar inequity. I wanted to point out how Sir Tom having his family visit him in hospital and sit with him in his final hours is an utter affront to all the poor distressed souls who’ve not been allowed to visit their loved ones or sit with them as they passed.
Of course, no papers wanted the story, with one editor telling me “that’s not a road we want to go down at the moment.” Hmm. Why’s that, I wonder? Sir Tom was also allowed to travel first class on an aeroplane recently. He went to Barbados, I believe. For a holiday. Again, no one’s begrudging the man a pre-bucket-kicking vacation, but we are questioning the injustice of it all. Talk about rubbing the common people’s noses in it! A friend said “but he’s a hero” and perhaps he was.
But so were many others who died during the course of this past year, people we may not have met and have never heard, people who quietly achieved great things. Why didn’t they get this special ‘hero treatment’? Once again, it seems to be one set of rules for the rich and another for the poor. If the masses can’t see this now, as we’re having our noses roughly rubbed in it, then there’s no hope. RIP, Sir Tom. And RIP, too, to the heroes who died alone.