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Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Gardener known as ‘Eco Grandad’ to Highland school pupils gets a gong

Thomas Lincoln Thomas, better known as Tom Tom, will receive a British Empire Medal.
Thomas Lincoln Thomas, better known as Tom Tom, will receive a British Empire Medal.

A passionate community gardener in the Highlands known to children as “Eco Grandad” will receive a British Empire Medal.

Green-fingered Thomas Lincoln Thomas, known locally as Tom Tom, has been an integral part of village life in Maryburgh, near Dingwall, for 19 years.

The 80-year-old, who is originally from Edinburgh, moved to the north to be close to his daughter when she joined the police.

Drive to help children learn to garden

However, he has since made the village his home by throwing himself into all aspects of the community.

Through the recent Covid lockdowns he befriended various people to lift their spirits through the pandemic while also volunteering at the local hospice.

Thomas Lincoln Thomas is known as “Eco Grandad” to local primary school children. Photo: Sandy McCook/DCT Media

His main passion is gardening though, with much of his time spent tending to the local community garden, strimming grass or maintaining other beauty spots to ensure the village is always looking its best.

Mr Thomas said: “I’ve taken the kids at Ben Wyvis Primary School for gardening lessons for the last six or seven years – they call me Eco Grandad.

“It’s a shame I haven’t been able to do it as much with the Covid.

“I show them how to look after stuff, how to plant, how to look after your tools. It’s amazing to see the children who aren’t as academically gifted really take to it.”

‘It’s in my nature to help others’

Mr Thomas has been active in various communities throughout his life, initially in Edinburgh and then in East Renfrewshire.

He is also currently a member of Maryburgh Community Council and was involved in the local men’s shed project to buy the former village primary school as new premises for the group.

Mr Thomas said: “I was brought up in West Pilton in Edinburgh. It was a very deprived part of the community and I think you just appreciated the community around you.

“It’s just in my nature to help other people.”

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