The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore paid tributes to the prolific fundraiser at his funeral.
The service, held at the Norse Road Crematorium in Bedford, was attended by eight members of the 100-year-old former British Army officer’s closest family members.
Sir Tom’s coffin, draped in a union flag, was carried to the crematorium on Saturday by soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment while a Second World War-era C-47 Dakota performed a flypast.
This was followed by a firing party of 14 each firing three rounds in unison before a small service got under way.
Many who were not in attendance also paid their respects to Sir Tom, who captured the hearts of the nation when he raised almost £33m for NHS charities with his garden walks last year.
Residents stood outside their homes to applaud and salute as the funeral cortege made its way from his family home in Marston Moretaine to the cemetery.
Red ribbons were tied to lampposts in the village as a mark of respect.
Speaking at the service, his daughter Lucy Teixeira paid tribute to her father’s “steadying” influence in her and her family’s lives.
“Daddy, you would always tell us best foot forward and true to your word that’s just what you did last year,” she said.
“On my wedding day, you were a steadying influence. I felt jittery and asked you to tell me a story. You squeezed my hand tight and talked to me about concrete pipes.
Holding back tears, Captain Tom’s daughter remembered: “We often talked about milestones in your life and we laughed about the possibility of you reaching 100 years – you said ‘it’s just a number and I don’t feel any different’.
“You may be gone but your message and your spirit lives on.”
His grandson Tom Teixeira read “Oh the Wild, Wild Moors” by Edwin Waugh, and Captain Tom’s granddaughter Georgia Ingram-Moore read a poem called “The Magician” , which she helped write.
The celebrant conducting the funeral described him as a “proud British veteran” and a “gentleman”.
She said: “As wonderful as we think our NHS is, people from other countries really aren't going to be interested in our health, so it seems obvious to me that they were really investing in Captain Tom and the values he stood for.
“He was a proud British veteran and a gentleman, he lived in a multi-generational environment, not only would that have kept him young but also symbolises the importance of family to him.
“What sacrifices did he and his peers make in defence of our freedom, a man with a strong moral compass, a strong work ethic, a sense of pride and an indomitable spirit.”
The funeral cortege had set off from Sir Tom’s home in Marston Moretaine at 11.30am.
His coffin has been draped in the union jack and items placed on top included a replica of his Second World War service cap, a wreath from the Yorkshire Regiment and his campaign medals, and his knighthood medal, which was stitched on to a cushion.
There was also a specially commissioned officer’s sword, engraved with the regimental motto of the Yorkshire Regiment and, on the other side, Captain Tom’s own motto “tomorrow will be a good day”.
Music played at the ceremony included the 100-year-old’s cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, as well as the war-time ballad “The White Cliffs of Dover” by Vera Lynn.
Captain Tom came to global attention last year when he raised more than £30m for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden just before his 100th birthday. In July, he was knighted by the Queen.
The veteran died on 2 February after contracting coronavirus and pneumonia.
He served with the Duke of Wellington Regiment during the Second World War with his division later merging to become the Yorkshire Regiment.
Sir Tom asked for Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to played at the end of his funeral and that his epitaph should read “I told you I was old”, in reference to the comedian Spike Milligan’s famous line “I told you I was ill”.