Tributes to the butcher and war hero who served both his community and his country

Thomas Bell, who has died at the age of 89.
Thomas Bell, who has died at the age of 89.
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Tributes have been paid to a family butcher and war hero, who has died at the age of 89.

Thomas Bell was born in Washington on March 24, 1926, to parents Florence and Maurice.

Many local charities and community causes benefited from his generosity.

Neil McOnie

Known as Tom, he attended Glebe School, now JFK, before going on to serve his apprenticeship in the family shop, where he became a master butcher, with the business slaughtering its own livestock to supply the then village.

From 1944 to 1946, Tom served as a Bevan Boy, then came back to work in the shop, now run by his daughter Alyson, which he and his wife Isabel took over in 1959.

The original Bell’s Butchers was established in 1883, in Station Road, where it is still a thriving business, trading as T and I Bell Caterers – Washington’s longest-established business.

Tom was also father to Judith, a grandfather of two and great-grandfather of seven.

Neil McOnie, president of the town’s Rotary Club, said: “Tom also was instrumental in setting up the Washington Saddle Club, and a member of Washington Lodge 4346 from the age of 21.

“He was a past president of The Rotary Club of Washington and a founder member of Washington Probus Club.

“As a result, many local charities and community causes benefited from his generosity.”

Tom’s funeral will be at 1.15pm on Monday at Holy Trinity Church, The Church on the Hill, in Washington Village, with flowers or donations to Holy Trinity Church. The funeral will be followed by a service at South Shields Crematorium at 2.30pm.