Former BMC president Tom Price passes away

Posted by Tony Ryan on 02/08/2013

Tom Price, who was BMC president from 1982 to 1985, died on Tuesday aged 94. During a long and active life, Tom made an important contribution to the outdoor world, both as an educator and explorer.

As a scholarship boy he won a place at Liverpool University, where he joined the university climbing club.

During WWII he was drafted into the Royal Navy as an Able Bodied Seaman, and he ended commanding a destroyer at D-Day.

He fetched up in Cumberland after the war, teaching English at Workington Grammar School, but he was also the cox of the local lifeboat. He then took over as Warden of Eskdale Outward Bound School succeeding Eric Shipton. In the late 1950s he was one of three mountaineers on an expedition to South Georgia led by explorer and professional broadcaster/actor Duncan Carse (the voice of Special Agent Dick Barton on BBC radio); the other two being Luis Baume and Johnny Cunningham.

Tom later moved to Yorkshire as an advisor to the old West Yorkshire Education Authority. He wrote some outstanding essays about climbing and outdoor education, including one that was widely published in the climbing press, 'Bridging the Gap'.

In 1973 he became the Dean of Bingley Teacher Training College, where he was instrumental in promoting outdoor activities. His students included Pete Livesey, Bonnie Masson, Jill Lawrence and Pete Gomersall.

In 1982 he was elected BMC president at the AGM in Ambleside, and served until 1985. This period coincided with one of the most significant events in the BMC’s history; the adoption of a new constitution which enfranchised individual members and enshrined the principle of one member one vote. He also sat on the Plas y Brenin Management Committee.

Tom accomplished many challenging expeditions, including a ski traverse of the Alps with Swiss mountaineer Andre Roch, and a canoe traverse of Canada with George Spencely. Besides being a keen rock climber, he was a fine water colourist and writer.

Tom was still active late into his life. Dennis Gray recalls meeting him last year in Threlkeld, where Tom lived in a 300-year-old cottage, just as Tom was leaving to traverse the Catbells ridge.

Although he was quiet and modest, he had a fine sense of humour, and thus was a good public speaker. In his autobiography Travail So Gladly Spent, he missed out writing about his war experiences, because he did not think anyone would be interested in reading about these events! It is a very fine book and typical of the man.

Tom’s funeral will be held at Distington Hall Crematorium in Cumbria on Wednesday 14 August at 11.15am. The crematorium (post code CA14 4QY) is approximately 3 miles south of Workington.

 

Thanks to Dennis Gray, BMC General Secretary (1974-1989), who knew Tom well, for providing the above summary of Tom’s life.
 



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1) Anonymous User
04/08/2013
Thank you Tom for shining a bright light for so many journeys, and for so many of us.
That light will now guide you beyond the stars, to a place in sacred memories for all time.
Thank you Jean for being such a helpmeet for him, and good friend to his friends.
2) Anonymous User
05/08/2013
5/8/13
I was very sad to learn of Tom's death. I will greatly miss visiting him in his cottage in Thelkeld and sitting with him to listen to his interesting and entertaining stories. Over the years I knew him I never ceased to be amazed by his experiences and achievements. I loved his paintings and each time I saw him we would talk about his latest work. I saw him and Jean recently with my brother. We were popping in to give him a pot of Damson jam.
He was a kind, generous man. Generous with his time and knowledge. His heart was always in the mountains but it was big enough to be shared with us humans! He was so proud of his sister and her painting. He also was very proud of Jean and her beautiful harp playing.
Both young and older people who have been fortunate to find themselves in Tom's company, I feel sure, have come away from the encounter with a sense of having been in the presece of someone very special yet modest.
Mags Hobson
3) Anonymous User
05/08/2013
Tom Price succeeded John Lagoe as Warden of Outward Bound Eskdale. Eric Shipton was an earlier Warden. As one who worked at the school during Tom's wardenship I benefitted greatly from his wise advice, often very gently and tactfully offered.
4) Anonymous User
12/08/2013
Mallory Patrol leader at Eskdale during 1966. Under the leadership of Tom Price and Roger Putnam learnt loads and went back to the council estate in Dagenham a better person. Thanks Tom your vision was achieved.

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