Neville Thomas RIP
We are very sad to report that Rotarian Neville Thomas has died.
was born on the 15th March (the Ides of March) 1934 in the little mining
town of Blaina in North Monmouthshire To David Charles and May Mary Elizabeth
Neville’s father was a miner, working in Beynan Colliery in the town for 52 years but his mother never
worked, remaining a housewife looking after Neville and his sister Audrey who
was his father’s ‘war effort’, being born in 1942!
went to the local Grammar school Hafod-y-Ddol at the age of 10, a year younger
than his friends and fellow pupils, having jumped an academic year, going from
infant school into the second year junior school. He worked hard but
always enjoyed playing cricket and other sports with his friends.
Having matriculated at 15 he left school at 16 years old. His father insisted that he not go down
the pit, so he started work in local government at Cardiff County council- but
only worked there for 6 months before moving to work at Blaina Urban District
council, in each case in the Finance Department. He then worked in local
government for 20 years at a variety of local authorities moving around the
Neville passed his intermediate accountancy examinations and moved to Northwood, Middlesex, a
large urban district, in 1956 working for Ruislip & Northwood Urban
District Council. Having moved to the area from South Wales he was
rather lonely, living in digs. He decided he ought to make an effort to
socialise and so joined the 225 Club (named after the local bus route). Fortunately,
Jenny was also a member and they met at the Club and by December 1958 they were
an item. He took her to a Gerard Hoffnung concert at the Royal Festival
Hall for her 21st Birthday in February 1959. Initially, when he mentioned
marriage, he was told that Jenny’s parents felt she was too young, and it would
be several years before she would feel ready for marriage, nevertheless they
were engaged just two months later, and married on 22nd August 1959 in
Having originally played rugby he was persuaded by some work colleagues to help form and became a
founding member of the Eastcote Hockey Club, one of the best clubs in the London
He and Jennifer moved around as he was promoted four times within various local authorities.
They had 2 Children - Janet born in Winchester in 1962 & Steven Born in
Oadby Leicestershire 1965. The family moved to Birchington in 1967 to
live at King’s Road, they moved to live at Carmel Court after Jennifer’s mother
died in 1988.and remained in the area for the rest of their lives. Jenny sadly
passed away in 2017 after 58 years of marriage.
Neville originally started work for Margate Borough council in 1967 but then began commuting to London by
train in 1970, until finally retiring in 1994 from the Civil Service, where he
had spent the last 20 years -working for 3 years at the Ministry of Defence and
17 years in the Overseas Development Administration Dept of the Foreign Office
(now the Department for International Development.) Here Neville had many
opportunities to travel, often taking his golf clubs with him overseas, and
needed no encouragement to regale relations and friends with stories from his
retirement they enjoyed many cruises and lots of the people contained in
Neville’s address book were friends they had made on those cruises. In Carmel Court they would enjoy
spending time together and with their four Grandchildren and Great Grandson.
His main interests were playing hockey for Cliftonville Hockey Club for 18 years and playing Golf at Westgate
and Birchington Golf Club as well as at Herne Bay Golf Club for nearly 50 years
- becoming Captain at both Clubs. Neville also played Cricket in Margate.
His interests, apart from sport, were local RNLI branch work, the Rotary Club of Westgate &
Birchington and playing Bridge at Thanet and Birchington Bridge clubs.
It is also well documented
that Neville was an absolute gentleman.