Thu, 20 June, 2024

Tom Brown’s short retirement

Posted: November 24th, 2019

This year’s Scots’ annual meeting was followed by a celebration lunch for Tom Brown (see below).

Tom is stepping back from day-to-day involvement in AMP so as to spend more time looking after his wife Marie, so he won’t be attending meetings. BUT as life vice-president he will remain very much involved in committee matters via email and phone. Sighs of relief all round.

It’s not often in life that you have the pleasure and privilege of working with a man of the calibre of Tom Brown, so your AMP committee, on both sides of the border, was aghast when he announced he would have to stand down as deputy chairman. So we are genuinely relieved, and very pleased, that Tom’s experience and wisdom – and his contacts book – will not be lost to AMP.

The annual meeting itself was attended by about 30 members, and since independent trustee chairman Quentin Woodley had been unavoidably detained at Stansted airport, his speech was delivered by David Astley, MGNPS secretary/trustee director and group pensions manager.

Trustees Andrew Watson and Chris Rushton both spoke at the meeting, and the possiblity and desirability of appointing a woman trustee was raised.

Tributes to Tom came from AMP chairman Deborah Thomas, and from ex-Daily Record showbusiness editor, John Millar. The chairman also delivered further tributes to Mirror great and former AMP committee man Brian Bass, who died in August, and a minute’s silence was observed.

And then came the unanimous vote to elevate Tom to life vice-president.

Tom’s lunch at La Lanterna, a friendly Italian dive in the middle of Glasgow, was attended by AMP chairman Deborah Thomas, secretary Gerald Mowbray, treasurer Ray Evans, Scots committee members Malcom Speed, George Easton, David Tattersall, Rob Cunningham (who took the pictures) and Russell Stewart, plus trustee Chris Rushton and Tom’s mate John Millar. And Tom, of course! (Committee member Isabel Mulligan couldn’t attend as she has a broken shoulder.)

Gifts to Tom from committee collections included a £100 Amazon voucher (as he is a regular purchaser of books/cds/dvds), a rather special 15-year-old malt whisky, a fun hip flask with the inscription: “Thomas, the man, the myth, the legend”, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for Tom’s wife Marie.

Aftwerwards, Tom said: “I was deeply touched by the tributes and presentations, particularly the speeches by my old friend and colleague, former Daily Record showbusiness editor John Millar.

“I had not realised how long my connection with the Association of Mirror Pensioners has been (especially since I was not elected but press-ganged into service on behalf of my Scottish workmates!) and how much has been done over the years.

“There may be those who regard the AMP as having only nuisance value, but it should be recognised that those of us who had our pensions stolen by the arch-crook Robert Maxwell will never take those pensions for granted, particularly as incomes dwindle the longer we live – and that applies especially to widows.

“The pensions world, not only occupational but State, is now in turmoil and it is vital there should be an organisation that is vigilant on our behalf. That is why I felt it important we should be part of an umbrella organisation such as the Occupational Pensioners’ Alliance, which includes some of the biggest pension schemes in Britain.

“While remaining on guard, the nature of the AMP has changed. When I first joined the committee we were consulting legal advisers more often on behalf of individual members who felt they were receiving a raw deal. Today’s task is more about liaison, consultation and communication with the membership – and the trustee and company.

“These days, perhaps the most important aspects of the AMP are the highly professional (what else could it be?) newsletter and the website informing the membership about pension developments and keeping old colleagues in contact. My hope for the AMP’s future is that it will continue doing just that, perhaps with more female participation – particularly of widows who do not seem to have a voice on the pensions that are so vital to them.

“For myself, I will always retain a keen interest in the AMP and will help in any way I can, especially in the use of political contacts, so that the pensioners’ voice continues to be heard where it matters.”

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