A BOOK devised as a ‘thank you’ to Keighley-born Captain Sir Tom Moore from his former regiment has proved a massive success.

Originally the book was planned as a single-copy, ‘one-off’ tribute from the Duke of Wellington’s to the fundraiser extraordinaire.

But following an overwhelming response to the project, including contributions from across the world, the publication entered a print run.

And the initial 500 copies sold out within 48 hours.

Now the print run is being increased to cope with demand.

Behind the initiative – which is also raising money for charity – is former Duke of Wellington’s officer, Ben Walsgrove.

While on furlough from his furniture-making business, the 51-year-old – who served with the regiment for three years, until 1995 ­– invited other ex-Dukes to run five kilometres, take a photo of themselves with an item of regimental memorabilia and donate £5 to NHS Charities Together.

“The idea was to then compile all the images in a one-off book to be presented to Captain Tom as a way of thanking him for his extraordinary fundraising efforts,” said Ben, who lives in Nottingham.

“But I was not expecting the incredible response – the money and the photos just kept on coming and the overwhelming interest in the book meant I had to change my plans and make it available to buy.”

Within a fortnight of the venture being launched, Ben had raised over £14,000 and been sent more than 500 photos from around the globe.

Ben said that like everyone, he had been hugely moved by the achievements of Captain Moore – who set out to walk 100 laps of his garden by his 100th birthday to raise money for NHS charities.

Captain Moore’s original target was to raise £1,000, but his exploits captured the nation’s hearts and he coined-in nearly £33 million.

He has since received a string of awards and honours, including a knighthood.

The former pupil of Keighley Boys’ Grammar School enlisted into the eighth battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (8 DWR).

In 1940 he was selected for officer training and rose to the rank of captain, later being posted to 9 DWR in India.

He served and fought in the Arakan in western Burma, since renamed Rakhine State, and went with his regiment to Sumatra after the Japanese surrender.

After the war he returned to the UK and worked as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset. He now lives in Bedfordshire.

“I couldn’t believe it when I first realised that ‘Captain Tom’ and I had served in the same regiment,” said Ben.

“The amount of money he raised was phenomenal.

“I immediately decided I wanted to help in some way.”

As well as containing the photos of former Dukes, the book – Once a Duke, Always a Duke – also features previously-unpublished pictures of Captain Moore and images from the regiment archives.

“One of the unexpected outcomes of the book is that it has reunited soldiers from across the globe during a time when many have struggled with isolation,” said Ben.

“Daily updates on social media from soldiers in lockdown has been an inspiration and has meant that lost friendships have been rekindled and old stories recounted."

Proceeds from sales of the book, which retails at £14.95, are being split between the Army Benevolent Fund and the Captain Tom Foundation.

Copies can be ordered at captaintomsbookofthanks.co.uk/product/once-a-duke-always-a-duke.

The book is designed and printed by Hart and Clough, a firm with strong connections to the regiment, and the website was created by Envious Digital.