Tom Jones RIP- My mate, family man, PTI, Outdoor Man, Prankster and great human being.

In life you get huge upsets I had a huge one  when my good pal Tom Jones had a heart attack in Greece two weeks ago and sadly passed away. Tom was with Allyson his wife on holiday and my thoughts are as always with the family.These area few words that seem inadequate for Allyson, Catherine, Christian, Jessie, Kirstin and Eoin.

I have known Tom for nearly 30 years and above all Tom was  a family man and his that was his life! Allyson,Catherine, Chris and the grand kids were his life and the house at Carrbridge and the grounds were a place of great fun and adventure for all who visited. I first met Tom as a RAF PTI many years ago and he was such a great man, not the normal PTI but a real unique character! He was one of life’s pranksters you never knew what was going to happen next!  He was at The Outdoor Centre at Grantown on Spey for many years and brought the propeller from near the summit of Beinn Eighe for the Lancaster crash with the students to RAF Kinloss MRT as a Memorial to the crew. I met often but only got to know each other well when I started playing golf with him. Yet before that I used his classic bunkhouse at Carrbridge which summed Tom up as it was full of memorabilia of Tom’s varied life! Antlers, books, lots of “stuff” it was a den for a life’s adventures. I stayed in the bunkhouse with our team in 2001 before our Everest Expedition to Tibet we had a grand few days.  Tom was as always very social as were the family. Most people in the Spey Valley  know Tom and  the family he first brought chainsaw carving to the village in conjunction with the annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in 2003 and continued to support the event thereafter and was a regular attendee.

It was Carrbridge was where Tom and family settled in the lovely house and what a family home I have so many memories of great days. Tom’s modified”Olympic Games” held in the Garden were an incredible event. The odd chicken would accompany you in the events as Tom thought up new events all competitive and for the family and friends. He was so proud of the family and how they were all growing up and becoming real characters like Tom. He was so proud of everything they were achieving  and was there for the ups and downs of family life can through as well.

Allyson was his soul mate, childhood sweetheart and I loved their company their kindness and care for us all. The family called them “Nanny and Petto” their Welsh roots were with them always despite loving Scotland so much. The bacon butties by the big table and the chats with  the family, it was a house I often called into and it was never a short visit. There was always a project going on in the grounds and Tom loved his DIY.  Tom and Alyson looked after Chris their son after his life changing  accident as a young man and this is their life a 24 hour 7 days a week. Their constant love and care that always made me see this family unit as very special. The family is so close a unit and they will need this in the years to come.

Tom was a RAF PTI in his younger days and a big sportsman in his day, he I am sure long jumped, boxed, kayaker, skied, climbed,and became an Outdoor Instructor.  Steve Heaney his partner on Smith Island Expedition in 1990/91 said – ” He couldn’t have had a better, more even-tempered man to share a snowhole with. Patiently introduced us to Telemark skiing. Only heard him slightly vexed once when I got the rope stuck while descending off Foster in thawing, avalanche prone conditions. I ended up untying from it. He had a clear, realistic view of what we could achieve in the prevailing conditions and wasn’t afraid to make his views known.” That trip was for several months with limited outside communications

There will be many speaking about Tom today about his life, the family and the love he shared. I will never forget his phrases when golfing “Watch and learn” “Any tips / Hit it as hard as you can” the exploding golf balls. Him forgetting “stuff” hats, water food and the epics with the coffee machines and technology. Yet he loved photos and had so many and did so many kind things for me and others.

I am so sorry I am down South with my Grand kids  and will miss the funeral today. Tom would understand that but when I return I will be there for Allyson, Catherine, Chris and the family.  My heart is heavy today for a good and kind pal who I learned so much from

Thinking of you Allyson, Catherine Christian, Jessie, Kirstin and Eoin  and all the family.

Tom  in a few words was “A great human being”.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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