Saturday, July 04, 2015

Tom Voute

One can gauge how active or flourishing a local party is by the number of people who leaflet homes regularly, volunteer for officer roles, write letters to the paper, help run stalls, attend and contribute at business meetings, support fundraisers, attend socials, donate to the local party and stand for elections.

Tom Voute did all of the above.

Moreover, as other active Greens know, the more active you become, your colleagues in the local party become your friends.

That it why we were all sad to hear the news that, after a short illness, Tom had passed away on 19th June 2015.

I first met Tom at a local party meeting in Carshalton. Back in 2003, our local party meetings were in Sutton. Croydon had conjoined with Sutton when activity in Croydon had all but ceased at the back end of the last century. It was about the same time that Tom, Bernice Golberg and I started attending meetings in Sutton, as Croydon members.

Tom always made himself available to stand as candidate in his home ward of Kenley. It's a shame we never targeted Kenley because the headline of our pre-election leaflet would obviously be:


Until very recently he was our local party treasurer and London Federation of Green Parties representative. Despite his illness he was active as ever this year.

He was wise man with a great Dutch accent and an infectious laugh. We will miss him.

A good number of our local party attended his funeral, His son, James, made a moving tribute to his father, detailing all the things his father had taught him. He, his brother Nick, and their mother Beth are in our thoughts.

I've searched my PC, laptop and phone and found some photos of Tom over the years. I've put them together in a vid.

Tributes to Tom have been circulating on social media and emails. Here a couple from Tracey Hague and Martyn Post.

"He was a great man, full of experience, enthusiasm and humour but also a great lover of life (who can forget his Argentinian tango at our eco-disco?). Everyone has fond memories of him; he will be sorely missed both locally and at London Federation meetings. In the meantime he would probably want us all to get on with Green Party work in making this world a better place to live for everyone. RIP Tom - I hope I can emulate a fraction of what you embodied so wonderfully." 

"This is such terrible news.  Tom was such a lovely person.  He was always happy to talk about any subject, he was wise, friendly and will be such a loss to the whole local party.
I will always remember meeting up with him and Gordon on pretty much a daily basis last year delivering leaflets across Croham and going for coffee afterwards.  Tom and Gordon would discuss buildings and art, while I sat there listening, unable to add anything to the conversation.
I first met Tom in 2007, a year or so after I joined the party and straight away I liked him. He was very welcoming and so inteligent.
My heart goes out to his family.  I hope we can get a fitting tribute for him."
Tom's occupation was local authority waste management. Last year he wrote a piece on flytipping for Inside Croydon. 

There's a lovely picture of him on the Croydon Green Party Facebook page here and one of his letters to the local paper can be found here.

RIP Tom.
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Bob Steel said...

Great tribute to a remarkable man Shasha. Well done!

Shasha Khan said...

Thanks Bob. Today we visited friends for lunch. For pudding a choice of two cakes was offered. Recalling what Tom taught his son, I asked if could I have a piece of both :-)

James Voute said...

I finally feel ready to post this, one year on.

Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute. Tom always spoke incredibly highly of all his friends at the Green Party and stood absolutely for its values. His family greatly appeciates all your kind words that've been expressed both publicly and privately. Tom is deeply missed, but his memory lives on through the thoughts and deeds of the many people he knew, loved and inspired. Thank you again.

Standing up for what matters