A Tribute To Tom Talbot (2002)

Records show that Tom joined Tipton Harriers as a 15 year old in September 1937 with the unusual ambition for Tipton Harriers in those days, of being a sprinter. I have found very little information on his athletic achievements but he does appear to have retired from active participation towards the end of the 1940's.

His interest was re-awakened in the early 1960's, when his daughter Pat decided to follow in dad's footsteps and take up the sport. She received every encouragement from parents Mary and Tom, and as a family they were instrumental in forming and nurturing the Ladies Section, with Pat going on to become the first Ladies Captain.

When in 1973 our then Secretary Jim Bedford had to retire because of ill health it was a case of 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' when Tom took up the challenge and became Secretary, a role he was to occupy with distinction for the next twenty five and a half years.

Tom quickly realised that the future of the Harriers was dependent on the success of the Tipton Sports Union, which had been formed a few years previously, and so he became an enthusiastic delegate to this body, taking over the position of Chairman of the Grounds Committee towards the end of 1974. All this was in addition to the duties he had already taken on as Tipton's delegate to most of the parent bodies of our sport.

During his period as Secretary he also served terms of office as president of the Staffs AAA and of the Birmingham C.C League.

For his services to the sport he was made a Life Member of the Midland Counties Athletic Association, the Staffs AAA and, of course, also of Tipton Harriers.

In all the years that I knew Tom I never remember him refusing a task on the grounds that he already had enough to do, but he was always ready to take on some other job which he felt was in the interest of the Club. All of this voluntary work was carried out within detriment to his full-time job of a senior estimator at W.G Allens.

For relaxation you would find him on most weekends either officiating in his capacity as a qualified timekeeper or performing any other task involved in the running of an athletics meeting, be it a schools race or a national championship. Any of us who took part in the relays at Sutton Park either as team members or as supporters got so used to seeing Tom and Mary acting as marshals at the Jamboree Stone that we shall always remember it as the Talbot Stone.

My abiding memory of Tom will be his enthusiasm and dedication and above all his enormous capacity for work.

I can only pray that he is receiving in Heaven the reward which he never sought on earth.

Rest in peace Tom, you have truly earned it.

(Written By Joe Gripton)