Tom was diagnosed with HIV in 1986. His approach to what was then perceived as a terminal disease was to become an activist. He used to say that even if he only had HIV in common with people that that was enough to mean he has something to bring them together to help them in living with the stigma and other issues.
In 1988, Tom was appointed AIDS Liaison Officer for Leeds City Council, a challenging role made even more so by doing it as an “out gay man living with HIV”. Tom came to Birmingham in 1989 as the then Regional Health Authority HIV co-ordinator. He commissioned the HIV self help manual and complementary Carers manual that was so important to empowering many people at that time. Many other education, treatment and care initiatives, support groups and projects came to fruition because of his willingness to “fight the corner” for people living with and affected by HIV throughout the West Midlands.
Tom became ill and retired in 1996 but continued as an active supporter of PLHIV. He was a central figure in the formation of various community support groups most notably AB Plus. Recently he was central to the setting up of the HIV peer support process. Sadly he became ill and died of a non-HIV-related cancer in February 2022.
He always used to say that each day was a bonus and that he had outlived his sell-by date. He was an inspiration and a friend to many who miss him still.