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Captain Tom Moore's rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' beat Canadian artist The Weeknd's 'Blinding Light' into second place © AFP / Justin TALLIS

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WWII veteran tops UK music charts after record virus fundraiser

London, United Kingdom, Apr 25 – A 99-year-old British World War II veteran who shot to fame raising millions for health workers fighting the coronavirus has become the oldest artist to reach No. 1 in the UK music singles charts.

Tom Moore’s rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” — a much-loved and widely covered song from a 1945 musical — sold 82,000 units, the Press Association (PA) news agency said Friday, beating Canadian artist The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” in second place.

“It’s out of this world, truly amazing!” Moore, a captain who served in India, said on his official Twitter account.

The single, which features Moore singing alongside actor and singer Michael Ball and a choir from the state-run health service is also the fastest-selling single of 2020 so far, according to PA.

The race to the No.1 spot had been tight, Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company told PA, until The Weeknd tweeted his support Thursday for the “incredible 99 yr old war veteran”, and his hope that Moore “can have a No 1 for his 100th birthday”.

“My grandchildren can’t believe I am a chart topper!” Moore, who turns 100 at the end of this month, told PA.

Guinness World Records also announced Moore had broken the record for raising the most money in an individual charity walk — more than £27 million ($33 million, 31 million euros).

He initially set out to raise just £1,000 for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) by walking 100 laps of his 25-metre (82-foot) garden, with the help of his walking frame.

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But his journey resonated with a public inundated with grim pandemic coverage and he became a global phenomenon praised by British Olympic great Mo Farrah and Prince William.

The final lap of his garden in Bedfordshire, south England, was met with a guard of honour from the Yorkshire Regiment and broadcast live on British TV on Thursday.

“What a way to finish the week,” Moore’s latest tweet said.

“It’s simply wonderful and all for such a good cause. The NHS staff and the volunteers are the real heroes & they continue to do such a magnificent job THANK YOU!”

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