It is with great sadness that the parish community heard of Tom's death on 31st August in Nazareth House.
Tom was one of the first parishioners that I met on my arrival at St Marie's in 2008. He introduced himself 'Hello Father, I 'm Tom. I'm the organist here. I can't read music. I play by ear.' He wasn't too sure how to take me when I replied 'why don't you try using your fingers, it's easier.' I am happy to say from that moment on we became great friends.
Many parishioners described Tom as a character. He certainly was. On a Sunday morning before Mass he could be found in the church porch helping hand out the hymn books and always with a smile, a joke or even a song.
As mentioned above Tom was the organist here at St Marie's. Not being able to read music didn't deter him from playing at Mass form a wide repertoire of hymns that he has learnt, providing of course they were in the key of C. I commented on this and said 'the Parish church down the road has Stanford in G and we have Tom in C.'
Tom served the parish faithfully as organist and as a member of the SVP Society putting his faith into action by helping those less fortunate than himself. In the latter months he served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.
An appreciation of Tom's life would not be complete without reference to his time in the Royal Navy where he was proud to have served Queen and Country on board The Brtiannia. Tom had many stories to tell about his life on the ocean wave, most of them not suitable for a parish blog!!!
Tom will be missed by all who knew him and not least by his wife Maureen to whom we offer our love, prayers and condolences.
Rest in Peace Tom