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Tarves left a poorer place following death of veteran and volunteering stalwart John Thomson

The late John Hendry Thomson, of Tarves. Supplied by Fiona Thomson
The late John Hendry Thomson, of Tarves. Supplied by Fiona Thomson

The Tarves community has lost a loyal servant following the death of village stalwart John Hendry Thomson.

Mr Thomson spent the past 55 of his 85 years in the north-east village which became his adopted home, embedding himself on committees and in clubs as both a volunteer and veteran.

He died at home with his family nearby on Tuesday, following a battle with cancer.

A proud veteran

His daughter Fiona Thomson said her father was “ever community minded” and “involved in everything”.

She added: “He led an active life and enjoyed the outdoors. Holidays with his family would usually be under canvas in the Highlands.”

The proud veteran and former engineer latterly served in various roles with Tarves British Legion Scotland and the wider East Aberdeenshire Landward zone, and always played an integral part in the annual Remembrance commemorations.

Mr Thomson, who trained at the Pneumatic Tool Company in Fraserburgh in 1952, was called up for national service with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1957 and served in Russia during those two years before returning to work in Fraserburgh after being demobbed.

Mr Thomson, with fellow Tarves Heritage Project volunteers in 2018, from left, Moira Minty, Liz Hamilton and Fran Crichton.

In 1962 a change of work took him to London where he maintained and assembled  aircraft engines, before moving to Tarves in 1965 when he married wife Hazel and quickly involved himself in village life, joining its community council, Tarves Heritage Project and Formartine Partnership.

One of a kind

A great fan of fishing and the outdoors, he also joined Tarves Ramblers and led various walks both close to home with dog Tilly, and across Europe, even venturing to Australia aged 80.

Tarves Legion stalwart John Thomson. Supplied by Fiona Thomson.

He later worked at Aberdeen University then the Scottish Agricultural College as a research and development engineer, and post-retirement, as chauffeur and handyman for Lady Aberdeen at Haddo House, at the same time being a doting grandfather.

His wife, Hazel, died in 2019, and Mr Thomson is survived by his daughters Fiona and Mandy, son Derek and step-daughter Jackie.

Matt Fyfe, the Legion’s area secretary for Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine, added: “He was a great help to the Legion. He went to all our parades, concerts, remembrance days and also the Armed Forces service march in Aberdeen. He was at every conference in the last 20 -odd years, he never missed one.

“He will be sadly missed. He was a stalwart, he knew everyone and was always chatty and welcoming. People like that are few and far between.”

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