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Captain Sir Tom Moore: Cleric’s apology for tweet condemning nationwide clap ‘does not undo hurt’

Written by on 4 February 2021

A cleric’s comments branding those taking part in the clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore “a cult of white British nationalism”, have been described as “unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged”.

In a now-deleted tweet, the London-based Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown wrote: “The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism. I will offer prayers for the repose of his kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining the ‘National Clap’.”

A statement from the Diocese of London said:”Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged.

File photo dated 24/09/20 of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who has said seeing his late wife's struggle with loneliness as she was treated in hospital struck him Image: Captain Sir Tom Moore raised £32m for the NHS

“The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family.

“Nor do Jarel’s actions justify the racist abuse he is now receiving.”

The statement confirmed an investigation was under way, and added: “As a Church, we expect clergy to ensure that all online activity is in line with the Church of England’s social media guidelines and built on truth, kindness and sensitivity to others.”

The post caused fierce backlash online, and Rev Robinson-Brown, who was last month appointed to serve in the parish of All Hallows’-by-the-Tower, the oldest church in the City of London, subsequently offered “an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom”.

He added that he has now read and would sign the Church of England’s Digital Charter, a voluntary pledge that the clergy is encouraged to adhere to in order to “help make social media and the web more widely positive places for conversations to happen”.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised £32m for the NHS during the UK’s first national lockdown by walking 1,000 laps in his garden with his walking frame, died in Bedford Hospital on Tuesday morning aged 100, after contracting COVID-19.

His death caused an outpouring of tributes, including from the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who called the Second World War veteran “the very best of us”, and added, “where he walked a nation followed”.

On Wednesday night people across the country took part in a national clap to commemorate centenarian’s life and fundraising achievements, with members of the public standing on their doorsteps and balconies and leaning out of their windows to express their thanks.

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Nation claps for Captain Sir Tom Moore Staff members at Bedford Hospital Image: Staff members at Bedford Hospital during the clap

Sir Tom’s relatives, including his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, were pictured applauding outside their home in the Bedfordshire village of Marston Moretaine where the centenarian had also lived.

Nurses and doctors directly involved in the care of Sir Tom, who had been treated for pneumonia, were among those taking part in the clap.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore Image: Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds also took part on Wednesday

His loved ones said they were “incredibly touched” by the nationwide gesture.

And Boris Johnson, who had called for the nationwide clap, applauded on the steps of 10 Downing Street alongside his fiancée Carrie Symonds to celebrate the work of the hero.

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