- 62 years old
- Date of birth: Feb 13, 1949
- Date of passing: Jul 16, 2011
|Let the memory of THOMAS be with us forever|
"Huw's tribute to Tom
.by Marie Watherston on Saturday, 23 July 2011 at 14:04.A straight talker, no messing around, possessing a quick mind and sharp wit in common with both his mother Blodwen - affectionately known as Blod - and his brother Keith, Tom had always been a very popular man.
From the time he left school until the sad forced closure of the mines he had worked as a collier. Despite the working conditions, on ending his mining days he would miss the camaraderie that existed in such harsh working environments. Working in such a tight knit workforce was important to him. That kind of solid inter-dependency defined the man.
Following the closures he retrained as a bricklayer and could turn his hands to most things. He used his skills throughout his lifetime in helping family members with home building work projects and the like. The care of his family was all important to him and this devotion was reciprocated in the obvious love they had for him.
There are many who will know Tom through rugby. He had a very long and succesful career, both as a player and as the captain, of Tumble RFC. Following in the footsteps of his uncle and father figure, Len Rees, he made a great contribution to the game in Tumble.
Amongst his other achievements Tom had been a player in the Tumble team on that proud day when they played Newport in the Welsh Cup. For the benefit of those not familiar with the account of this game:
a penalty kick towards the end of the game should have sealed a win for Tumble. Both linesmen awarded the kick, only to be wrongly overuled by the referee, resulting in a draw - at the time there were no neutral linesmen so one of the linesman awarding the penalty was himself from Newport. On scoring the only try of the game, in accordance with the rules of the time, Newport went through to the next round. Tumble had been the better side. Newport went all the way that year and won the final. Newport supporters of the time, to this day still talk of that game. In Tumble the game has gone down in rugby folklore with almost mythical status.
Following his playing days he became a very successful coach at both Penybanc and Cefneithin RFCs, before returning to Tumble as coach.
It would be stating the obvious that, as a player Tom had a huge presence on the rugby field. His established reputation as a hard second row forward however, hid a side to Tom that was not obviously visible unless you knew him really well. When involved with Jason during his boxing career for example, although outwardly showing a brave face in front of Jason, he would later turn to his close friends and speak of how deeply worrying it was for him to see his son risk getting hurt in the ring. This caring side ran very deep and as the years rolled by he would spend a great deal of time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren over whom he doted so much.
There were times of illness for Eirlys and Judith when any husband and father would be naturally very concerned but it went further than that. Whether times were good or bad, he would very regularly say "as long as the family is okay everything will be fine - that's all I'm concerned about". This concern for people close to him was another aspect that defined him.
He had strong emotions towards those closest to him and these emotions are reflected in some of the songs that he listed as his favourites - songs about life that are emotionally charged with very poignant lyrics, some with optimistic themes, others pessimistic, but all leaving you feeling stronger for listening to them.
In the Ghetto
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
with words like "snow can burn your eyes but only people make you cry"
and the one he referred to the most and best described his actions towards his family and friends
You'll never walk alone
Knowing of his interest in boxing, it is heartwarming to think that a trip to see this year's induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame event in Canastota, New York, in June, arranged by Eirlys, Jason and Chantel as a Christmas present last year, was at least realised by Tom before his passing. He thouroughly enjoyed what was not only a great expeience but also an obviously great pivilege. It seemed to have rekindled a spark in him and this memory of him should contribute towards making his loss a little less painful.
His other great passion throughout his life was his dogs. They were a very important part of his life and a regular topic of conversation with his friends.
Knowing of this passion for his dogs along with his total devotion to caring for his family, and, given what we now know to have been the exemplary, almost unbelievable, manner in which his beloved little grandson Tommy had handled the unexpected situation of his final moments, it is perhaps fitting that he passed away when walking his dogs in the company of one of his grandchildren.
Whichever way this most unfortunate of situations is looked upon, it is such a measure of the man that so much of his devotion to caring for others had rubbed off on the boy. And in such a short time.
It, therefore, can only be a very reassuring and happy experience, to think that this kind of total devotion to the care of others, lives on in the family"
"GONE BUT UL NEVER EVER B 4GOTTEN.XXXX"
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