Tom was married to his beloved wife Ann for 58 years. Ann was the niece of boxer Len Harvey, a national sporting idol. Their son Andrew lives in Tavistock and daughter Elaine still lives locally in Golberdon.
Tom is pictured below assisting Ley Daniel (South Hill Parish Chairman), Fern Friend and Les Hambley, Tom Brewer and one other, with the construction of The South Hill Parish Hall, which was established by an Order of the Secretary of State in 1965.
Fund raising from people of modest means via Whist and Beetle Drives meant that construction took a long time, as shown by the ivy growing on the structure. Prior to and during this time Parish matters were discussed in the Sunday School of The Chapel in Golberdon. Tom’s unbroken service on The South Hill Parish Council exceeds 50 years and whilst he remembers Golberdon being a very tidy and clean place, with well-kept gardens, hedges and verges in his youth, he accepts that growth and infill of property amongst the original properties was a necessity.
Tom’s unwavering commitment to others is demonstrable in many ways. He gave up smoking his beloved pipe on the spot 16 years ago, when his son asked him not to blow smoke in his grandsons’ face. Years earlier he was part of the fund-raising efforts for the bereaved families of the Aberfan disaster and remembers The White Aces band came all the way from St. Austell to play. In recent years Tom has served by checking the Parish Hall children’s play area every day since its installation. He championed the alteration of the parks metal safety barrier onto the road, so that children leaving the park faced the oncoming traffic rather than away from it. The wildflower area, soon to be installed by The Parish Council was Toms’ idea, as was the bench within it that will benefit from a magnificent view of Caradon Hill.
Renowned and respected for his patience and compassion for both the animals he dispatched and for their often distraught owners, Tom travelled over 1000 miles a week working as a slaughterman. He recalls his first horse to dispatch was a large dray at Courage brewery, so tall in fact that Tom had to climb onto a beer barrel. He served the local hunts and attended the point to points of Spooners, Lamerton, Bolventor, East Cornwall and Tedcott hunts. Tom recalls the BSE (1980 – 1990) and Foot and Mouth (2001) outbreaks as being hugely traumatic for all involved, with millions of animals slaughtered.
Tom prefers to focus instead on the many animals he has saved over the years, one a horse, which survived for a further 6 years, and another, a heifer, for 18 months, following his advice to treat instead.
Tom’s eyes dance with merriment as he recalls the numerous bottles of whiskey bestowed upon him over the 55 years he served the Cornish and Devonian communities. Tom drinks whiskey, and always accepted it graciously. He remembers teaching young ladies, who were studying to become vets at Duchy College, about horse anatomy. Their gratitude was such that they bought him a fabulous statue for his retirement. Toms recalls that his leaving party at Duchy College was attended by over 50 guests, who of course brought him more whiskey. Nowadays Tom enjoys relaxing in his bright, sunny lounge reading the daily paper from PaperPhil. He loves to travel and is an avid fan of coach tours to Scotland. His warm personality draws others to him and his many friends clamour to meet up with him again on a trip at Christmas and next July, and of course Tom has readily agreed.