A FARMER from Kingstone has celebrated his 100th birthday. Reginald Thomas Gallimore, known as Tom, marked his century milestone on Thursday, July 23 at his home in Loxley Green. His family – children Kathleen and Thomas and grandsons William, Michael, Matthew and Luke – have put together a moving tribute to the centenarian for his special birthday.
Tom was born on July 23, 1920 at Wall Heath Farm, where he lived with his parents Samuel Gallimore and Elsie (nee Bettson) together with his eight siblings: John known as Jack and renowned for growing geraniums for the village fete, Constance, Jessie, Harriet, Ernest who lived at Wall Heath, Sidney who unfortunately died at only 20 months old, Grace and Dorothy who sadly has passed away during Covid-19 pandemic.
Tom went to school in Kingstone, where he was a typical boy scrumping for apples from the garden next to the school as it was then, and pushing a little girl called Irene in to the brook – something she reminded him of many times later in life. At the age of 13 in 1933 things changed dramatically when Tom’s father died aged 47. It was difficult times – the family all had to pull together working on the farm and helping in the house especially as Dorothy was just a year old. Tom enjoyed working with the horses and used to do much of the hard work as the farm had no tractors back then.
He did find time to join the local young farmers tug of war team, something two of his grandsons have also done. During the Second World War Tom was part of the local Home Guard, quite a dapper chap in his uniform. The village hall held regular dances and it was there that he again encountered the girl from next door – Irene Stephens (Rene) of Holly Hayes Farm.
They married in 1951, making their home at Holly Hayes, together with their children Kathleen and Thomas and it’s still Tom’s home today. During his farming life he has seen many changes from horses to tractors, hand milking to milking parlours, hay making to mainly silaging and more to come. In the 1970/80s he grew lots of potatoes and the October half term would see many of the village children help pick the crop for pocket money.
In later years whilst hedge-laying alongside his lifelong friend and fellow village resident Albert Plant (Tiny), they kept Tom’s grandsons entertained with a few stories about their adventures. Tom looked forward to his weekly Wednesday trip to Uttoxeter Cattle Market not just to see his animals sold, but a social chat with his neighbours, friends about the latest news and to restock his supply of sweets.
Tom has four grandsons William Michael, Matthew and Luke with whom he has a great rapport and enjoys their company. Although rather deaf, especially if he forgets to put his hearing aids in, he still like to get out and about in his wheelchair to see what’s happening in the world, to look at the cows, watch his grandsons at work silaging, looking at the new machinery, enjoying an annual visit to the Primestock show and we hope this zest for life will continue.
Tom’s birthday was also recognised by Her Majesty The Queen, who sent a special card to wish him a happy 100th birthday.
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