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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27080


Ms HOARE (9:46 AM) —On 4 May this year, I mourned the death and celebrated the life of Tom Reynolds. Tom died on 30 April, in his 97th year. Tom Reynolds was a long-time member of the West Wallsend branch of the Australian Labor Party and he was a good friend to my family and me. Tom was born at Holmesville on 10 October 1904. He spent his school days at Barnsley public school. In his early 20s, he commenced duties as a lampman at Seaham No. 2 colliery, working alongside his father and uncle. Over the next 60 years he worked in finance, insurance and real estate.

Tom married Quen Keen in 1927 at Scots Kirk in Hamilton. Their only child, Lisle, was born at West Wallsend. Tom and Quen lived for most of their lives in the Holmesville-West Wallsend area. When Quen died in 1983, Tom lived alone. His last five months were spent as a resident of the Carey Bay Nursing Home, where he expressed to Lisle that he was being very well cared for but that he did miss `Westy'.

Tom had been an energetic worker for the community. He helped establish the Mount Sugarloaf Recreational Trust, of which he was the foundation secretary, holding office for 16 years from 1971. Tom was an all-time and long-time advocate for Mount Sugarloaf. Although at the age of 70 he was required to retire as a trust member, Tom remained secretary. When he was 83 he decided to relinquish the active secretary's role. Up until 1995 Tom rarely missed a meeting of the trust as an observer. Tom Reynolds was also a local historian. When he was 85 years old he published a book entitled Early West Wallsend (Westy): its people and places.

I had the honour of presenting Tom Reynolds with his life membership certificate of the Australian Labor Party, which he was awarded in 1995. For anyone to retain continuity of membership of any organisation for at least 40 years reflects great credit on their personal loyalty and commitment. When that commitment is to the social aspirations of the Labor Party and the labour movement that credit is greater.

Tom had always earned the respect and affection of people throughout our region. His vision for the development of the area was reflected in his strong attachment to it. I have no doubt many of his ideas will ultimately be achieved. Tom's contribution to the historic record of our area has been of outstanding value. I wish to knowledge Tom's son Lisle for contributing much of the information on Tom's early life. Vale, Tom Reynolds.