A PITMAN who became mayor has died at the age of 97.
Tom Scott’s year in office saw him welcome Margaret Thatcher to Wearside as she officially opened Nissan, with the father-of-four revelling in the role of statesman as he attended schools and organisations as he championed their projects and community spirit.
Born in Hetton, he took up a job at Eppleton Colliery at the age of 15, working underground as a wagonway lad and pony driver.
He joined the RAF in 1934, taking on the post of a leading air craftsman, and it was when he was stationed at RAF Church Fenton he met his wife Winnie at a dance.
During the war he was stationed on the south coast of England and worked as an armourer, loading bombs onto planes, taking up a job at a British Oil and Cake Mill in Selby when he was demobbed in 1946.
When he, Winnie and their two eldest moved to his home village in 1948, he returned to the same colliery to work with his father Mark and his brothers, Mark and Jack, until he was 59.
He had joined the Labour party in 1955 and began his political career in 1964, when he was elected onto Hetton Urban District Council, moving on to Sunderland City Council in 1974, after the reorganisation of local government.
He became Sunderland’s deputy mayor in May 1985, then mayor the next year, with the trip to Sunderland’s German twin town of Essen during his term among the fondest of their memories.
Tom and Winnie, who died aged 81 in 2000, had four children Brian, 73, David, 67, who lives in Australia, Malcolm, 64, and Ann Kent 61, five grandchildren and a great grandchild.
Malcolm said this parents enjoyed his time as deputy mayor and mayor adding: “They enjoyed all the places they visited, the people they met and worked with during this period and they both gained great satisfaction from taking on this role and they both had very fond memories of this period.
“Mam was particularly pleased when they were invited to the Queen’s Garden Party and they enjoyed this enormously.
“He liked going to the schools and meeting the disabled. He loved people coming to ask him for help.”
Ann said: “He would do anything for anybody, my dad.
“He knew everyone in Hetton.”
A keen sportsman in his younger days, Tom was a keen Sunderland AFC fan and enjoyed singing at Hetton Victory Club, where he once held the position of its treasurer.
He died on Tuesday, January 7, in Sunderland Royal Hospital of pneumonia.
His cremation service was due to be held today at 1.30pm followed by a celebration of his life at Union Street Methodist Church in Hetton at 2.15pm.
A gathering will be held in the Victory Club from about 3pm.