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Involved Partners: The Captain Tom Foundation, Shoppertainment Management Ltd, Royal British Legion, Tenant – Energie Fitness 

REFLECTING ON THE GREAT…..  COVID19 hit the shopping centre and Bedford’s local community hard. During the pandemic, Harpur Centre ensured it continually engaged with the community through social media and saw the community pull together. When the nation saw a WW2 veteran from Bedford in early 2020 determined to still serve his country by doing laps of his garden go on to and raise £25million for the NHS, the local pride could not be paralleled.


Watch the Video HERE

To celebrate the incredible success of Sir Captain Tom and provide a tribute to the NHS and key workers, The Centre installed a hand drawn mural, sending the message ‘stronger together.’ The mural was a creative way to show appreciation for Sir Captain Tom and all the local hero’s in Bedford. The installation attracted national visitors including Sir Kier Starmer and once restrictions were lifted, many shoppers visited so donations grew. It instilled faith in the community and saw everyone come together once more.

For Captain Tom’s 101st birthday, The Harpur Centre team walked 101 laps of the Centre to raise money for The Captain Tom Foundation. The community initiative was a huge success, reaching 100% of their target on the Just Giving page and a further £300 throughout the day. They were joined by the Centre’s gym Energie Fitness, who dressed in inflatable dinosaur suits and motivated the team. The event injected much-needed positivity.  

The message behind Sir Tom Moore’s campaign was to support and give thanks to the NHS, which resonated with the community. The mural also gained the attention of local veterans who visited the centre to pay their respects leading to the British Royal Legion basing Remembrance Day collections under Sir Tom’s reflection. The campaign combined received over 48,000 reach, reactions, shares, and positive comments. 


“We were so pleased that the Harpur Centre had honoured Sir Cpt Tom during the pandemic locally after his extraordinary service and recent achievements. This led us to contact the Harpur Centre to check the life size mural would still be in place during our key donation period up to Remembrance Day. They were happy to oblige and offered us free space to set up a stall and it be safe meeting place for our team, veterans and supporters. My partner Richie Bass, Deputy Poppy Appeal Organiser is a veteran himself and says he felt honoured to be in Sir Captain Tom’s shadow whilst working for such a great cause. Not only did we benefit from the additional Centre visitors attracted to the mural who kindly also donated, we saw an increased number of vulnerable veterans visiting the town centre for the first time since the lockdowns. They felt so safe, they were offering to help man our busy collection point. Poppy memorabilia sales were incredible and our collection tins filled but my favourite memory will always be witnessing the number of salutes Sir Captain Tom received from visitors aged between 3 – 93!”

Michelle French – Poppy Appeal Organiser Bedford and Kempston