National hero goes home

Sir Tom

When a hometown memorial was planned for war veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore, the task fell firmly in the safe hands of fellow Keighley resident David Gallagher. David, who has served the West Yorkshire community as a funeral director since 1993, spent four months working with the Captain Tom Moore Trust and the Moore family to arrange the inscription on the memorial and the burial arrangements for the hero’s ashes.

Last year, Captain Sir Tom captured the nation’s hearts when he walked laps of his garden to mark his 100th birthday and raise money for NHS Charities Together, subsequently receiving a string of accolades, including a knighthood and the freedom of Keighley.

Captain Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, said he was immensely proud to come from Keighley. “It didn’t matter where he was, Keighley was still home to him,” she said.

“The responsibility of taking this on was quite a task,” says David, who had been involved with the memorial planning since March, following the funeral in February, which was carried out by fellow SAIF member Neville’s of Bedfordshire.

“We worked with the family and Trust to plan the inscription and produced a template on how the inscription would appear in the cemetery. The template has since been donated to Keighley Town Council, hopefully for use within a public area in the town.

“The memorial the inscription was to go on couldn’t be moved from Morton Cemetery as it had been there since the 1930s, so all the inscription and the image of Captain Sir Tom Moore was carried out in situ in the cemetery on two sunny days in June.”

David engaged monumental mason Robert Morphet and his team from Wright & Sons in Bradford to carry out the work, which they completed well in time of the deadline, and Keighley Bereavement Services were also involved to enable the grave to be opened. David has great praise for both, as the task would not have been possible without their assistance.

David says: “It was a privilege to be asked to carry out this work for the Moore family and all along we felt we were making a lasting memorial not only for Captain Sir Tom, but the people of Keighley who remember him and who will look after him in his final resting place.”

For the interment of Captain Sir Tom’s ashes, a guard of honour was formed at Morton Cemetery as a short graveside service took place. The family were joined by representatives from various Keighley organisations and schools for the ceremony.

Local minister Rev Dr Jonathan Pritchard, who led the service at the graveside, said: “He was an extraordinary man who made a real, significant difference in the life of our nation. He lifted our spirits and raised our vision about what is possible. I’m just very, very moved to be able to be here right at the very end and doing this.”

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