Joanna Lumley has praised Captain Sir Tom Moore for "making us better people".
The 74-year-old actress has paid tribute to the late war hero, who died on Tuesday (02.02.21) aged 100 following a battle with coronavirus and pneumonia, for "bringing out the best" in the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden, after initially setting a fundraising target of £1,000.
Speaking on 'This Morning', Joanna said: "It's sort of sad but it's extraordinarily celebratory. 100 years. This magical man, absolutely ordinary and completely extraordinary.
"I think that's what has inspired us all.
"The thing was it was such a sweet, small, private ambition. But what his actions did is to bring out the best in all of us.
"Because the country loved his humility.
"He made us better people, which is just extraordinary."
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins - who presented Tom with a Pride of Britain award last year - said: "I was really excited to meet him, and he surpassed everything I thought he was going to be."
Former footballer David Beckham presented Captain Tom with a framed England shirt last year as he was named an honorary captain of the Lionhearts, which honours inspirational people who have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus fight.
David described the late legend as "the very best of British".
He wrote on Instagram: "Today we have lost a true hero, Captain Sir Tom Moore. What he achieved for our NHS will never be forgotten. Tom, you were truly the very best of British. When our country and our world was struggling you gave us hope, put a smile on our faces and made us believe that tomorrow would be a good day. Rest in Peace Sir Tom (sic)"
'Good Morning Britain' presenter Piers Morgan - who interviewed Captain Tom for his programme 'Life Stories' - praised the late war hero as "an amusing, mischievous and intelligent guy".
He wrote on Instagram: "Feel so sad about Captain Tom.
Had the great honour of getting to know him well since he walked his way into global stardom. I interviewed him many times with Susanna on @gmb and he used to phone me up for random chats about life and especially our mutual love of cricket and Yorkshire Gold tea. He was such an amusing, mischievous and intelligent guy aside from his extraordinary fund-raising. This photo was taken when we met for the first time, backstage at my Life Stories show last September. When we asked him what he wanted in his dressing room ‘rider’, Tom replied: ‘A can of coke, bar of Dairy Milk chocolate... and six blondes.’ Then he chuckled: ‘Six is a variable number obviously.’ They say never meet your heroes but Tom lived up to every expectation. He was a genuine, lovely man. My deepest condolences to his delightful family. (sic)"
Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the White House have also paid tribute to Captain Tom, who tested positive for coronavirus following a 10-day hospital stay last month.
His family revealed he was diagnosed with pneumonia when he was admitted to hospital on January 12th and while he tested negative for COVID-19 at the time, when he was discharged on January 22nd tests showed he had caught coronavirus.
He returned to hospital on January 31st when he was experiencing breathing difficulties.
A statement read: "He was admitted to hospital on January 12. Whilst in hospital he received a pneumonia diagnosis. In addition, as with other patients, he was tested regularly for Covid-19.
"On January 22, Tom was discharged from hospital back to the family home where he felt most comfortable. Unfortunately he was left still fighting pneumonia and tested positive for Covid-19 that day.
"He remained at home, cared for by family and medical professionals, until he needed additional help with his breathing. He was taken by ambulance to Bedford Hospital on Sunday January 31.
"Tom was able to have visitors to say goodbye to him at the end of his life. On Monday evening his daughter Hannah and grandchildren Benjie and Georgia were able to be by his side and his daughter Lucy was able to speak to him on FaceTime."