Hannah Ingram-Moore would not commit to removing the spa at their family home
Sir Captain Tom Moore’s family say the spa pool they built at their home was meant to help elderly people – and would not commit to knocking it down.
Hannah Ingram-Moore, her husband Colin Ingram, and their children Benji and Georgia addressed criticisms that they have used money from a foundation set-up in the lockdown hero’s name to build the spa at their home, reports Mirror Online. Captain Tom won the heart of the nation in 2020 when he started raising money for the NHS during the first Covid lockdown.
Walking laps of his back garden, he raised a massive £38 million for the NHS Charities Together. After he died in February 2021, his family became concerned by abuse and negative headlines. They feared it would overshadow his legacy.
They spoke to TalkTV’s Piers Morgan during a 90-minute special. It came after they faced claims they made money from the hero’s memory.
Captain Sir Tom Moore
His daughter has admitted to keeping £800,000 from the sale’s of her late father’s books, insisting she was entitled to the money. The family also addressed her controversial role as the CEO of the foundation and addressed an £18,000 fee Hannah was paid to appear at the Virgin Media 02 Captain Tom Foundation Connector Awards.
In July, Hannah was accused of using her father’s name to build a spa at her £1.2 million home in Bedfordshire. The 52-year-old and her husband have since been told to tear down the outbuilding, which contains a pool and changing facilities.
It emerged earlier this week it was built without planning permission. Under the name of the Captain Tom Foundation, the family erected the building in 2021 “in connection with the Captain Tom Foundation and its charitable objectives”.
The building however deviated from its original plans, leaving the couple to submit a retrospective planning application, which was subsequently rejected by their local council. During their TalkTV interview, the couple admitted they made mistakes but said the building was going to be used as somewhere to “put some of his things in it, some of his memorabilia” – and would also be a sort of “community building, so that we could help some of the local ageing population”.
The outbuilding houses a pool and changing facilities
The TV presenter said: “I think that was a mistake. I think that was always going to attract, and the original plan, yes, I mean I’ve been walking around here, and the memorabilia is incredible, from the cricket memorabilia, Joe Root’s shirt, Michael Vaughan’s England blazer, you know to the pictures here, incredible stuff, but it’s very hard to argue that you need a spa pool to pay tribute to your father.
“And it’s very hard to argue that whatever the original plan in your heads, that he would be able to use it, obviously once he died, that argument is gone too. I just don’t think you should have done the spa pool, and I think that’s what angered the public, because they’re like, ‘how does that add anything to the memory of, that looks like you are giving yourselves, as a family, a nice little treat’, but you are using the Captain Tom Foundation umbrella to justify it, that would be what I would say to you.”
Benji, the couple’s son, said the family did not use the charity funds to pay for the spa. He said: “Yes, what I hope people understand as well, is we did not use charity money for this. Hindsight, we shouldn’t have called it the Captain Tom Foundation building, it slipped through the net and that is a responsibility that we take, but never once did we use money from the Foundation, and I hope people can understand that part of it. And also the eyesore thing, granted when you build something, people are going to have objections to it, and what I hope they understand is, it’s also not finished. We haven’t finished it.”
The family told Piers Morgan they were “disgusted” after the 100-year-old’s granddaughter was targeted by hate mail after his death. Hannah admitted: “Of course, with the love that comes with something like that, and there really was love, global adoration of him and everything he had done to give hope to the world… there was always an underbelly of hate.”
Speaking of the “campaign of hate” they faced, her husband Colin continued: “I think it’s just disgusting. I mean, it’s been horrendous… Yes, I know, well my family, and we’ve, I have spent many years in rugby clubs and heard lots of language, but all in one sentence, and very personal, and individual, particularly to Hannah, it’s just totally unacceptable. And though you try not to read it, you can’t avoid it.”
Georgia said she was targeted by trolls sending abusive messages in unicorn envelopes. The teenager explained: “At first I thought it was from my friends saying I’m so excited to see you back at school and stuff, and then my dad took it and was like, ‘Don’t read it, just don’t’, then I said, ‘Oh no, I really want to read it’. And then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous, why would someone say that?’”
Captain Tom raised millions for the NHS charity
Speaking about the threats, Hannah told Piers: “There’s a forum… if you looked, you wouldn’t be able to cope… They were all discussing how they were going to come and kill us all in our beds, with pitchforks and hammers.”
Colin added: “[And] firebomb our house.” He then said some of the threats had been reported to the police.
Hannah addressed a controversial trip to Barbados with Captain Tom shortly before his death. She said: “It was his dream. Barbados, if you go back in time, he was interviewed, I can’t remember which newspaper said, ‘What’s on your bucket list Captain Tom?’ And he wanted to go back to India.
“He wanted to jump out of an aeroplane, attached to somebody and a parachute, and he wanted to go and watch the cricket in Barbados. And Barbados Tourist Board and their Prime Minister were quick off the mark. This was back in, very early, in the second week of his walk, so he said, ‘Yes please, he would love to go’. We just couldn’t go because we were in multiple lockdowns. Finally, we found a period of time when we could all go, and we were all invited. And his dream was to go, to go and see the cricketers in Barbados.”
On whether she was worried he was not physically strong enough to travel, she added: “Not at all, in fact, we had doctors to check, and they said, ‘Go, Captain Tom! Enjoy it, be happy’. No one knew how long he was going to live. We also didn’t know that he had silent pneumonia, nor did they, but nonetheless, we got on the plane, and we have photos of him on the plane. He was treated like a king.”
Colin said: “We paid, the first week was as the guests of Barbados tourist board but after that we paid for it, it was paid for by us, so it wasn’t free.”
The family said Captain Tom was “really with it” in his final few hours. Hannah said that even as he went into hospital for the final time, they thought he would be returning home.
For the full interview watch tonight’s Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV at 8pm, or on YouTube or the TalkTV app.