Reader’s letters - Thursday 27 February 2014

Lady Grenfell-Baines with her friend Sir Tom Finney at a charity function
Lady Grenfell-Baines with her friend Sir Tom Finney at a charity function
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Day Sir Tom came to visit

Going back 20 years to 1994 my grandad, who was an avid PNE supporter all his life and used to sit in the old West Stand, was in ill health and could no longer make it to Deepdale. He was in his later stages of life, homebound and suffering from Alzheimer’s.

I wrote a letter to Sir Tom telling him of my grandad’s situation and asking if he could possibly autograph a card for him or something to cheer him up a little. I popped my address and home phone number on the letter and posted it through the letter box of Tom Finney Ltd on Lytham Road. Not knowing if it would reach Tom I didn’t tell anybody and went to work, not really expecting anything back.

The following day my mum was at home and the phone rang, she answered and asked who was speaking and on the other end of the phone was Sir Tom. My mum, at first, thought somebody was ‘having her on’ but once she picked herself up off the floor, she listened as Tom explained that he had received a letter about her dad and wondered if it would be possible to pay him a visit.

My mum was in shock but said that would be lovely. That very afternoon Sir Tom visited my grandad in his terraced house, at the top of Plungington, and spent two hours sat at his bedside talking about old times.

As earlier mentioned, my grandad was suffering from Alzheimer’s and it was a worry that he wouldn’t be able to remember but, as it was, he remembered everything and the time that Tom Finney spent with him was a great highlight in his final days. He perked up and thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing.

My grandad died a few days later taking all his memories, including his afternoon with Sir Tom, with him. This is just one of many stories about the greatness of Sir Tom Finney, the many hours he spent with public appearances, his charity work along with the ‘quiet’ little things he did aside from that which went unheard of. Preston really has lost a true great, one that was idolised by many , young and old, and one that we will never see the like of again. Goodnight to a true legend. Reunited with his beloved wife Elsie – RIP Sir Tom x

Michael Johnson, via e-mail

Ace was real star of the show

I helped organise charity sportsmans dinners at a local venue. Usually we sold 170 to 200 tickets even though the venue could hold 250. In 2008 we managed to arrange for Sir Tom Finney to be present and included his name on the tickets and all 250 were sold within two weeks! We even had companies contacting us asking if they could have first refusal on any cancellations.

On the night I was sitting next to Sir Tom on the top table - what an honour that was. We dedicated 20 minutes of the evening for Sir Tom to sign autographs. However, all 250 wanted his autograph so this actually took about 45 minutes as Sir Tom always autographed ‘Best Wishes, Tom Finney’ in his best handwriting. I should have realised everyone was here to see and meet Sir Tom and were not as interested in the other speakers.

At the dinner we had a well known ex footballer as guest speaker and a comedian, both of whom were earning £600 each for the evening. Towards the end of the evening I asked Sir Tom if he wanted paying as the other speakers were being paid quite handsomely. His response was ‘Not at all. I’ve got enough out of football myself. I just want to put something back in’. What a fantastic gesture.

It was only the following day I suddenly realised he only earned about £14 a week from football and he was telling me he had got enough out of football. What a lesson for today’s overhyped, overpaid footballers. Sir Tom played for the love of the game, not financial rewards, and he was still in love with the game.

Andrew Hodson, via e-mail

Raising a glass to fan favourite

After reading the Evening Post letters regarding the future use of the museum at Deepdale may I suggest a club for the loyal supporters of Preston North End.

On match day, supporters only have the bars in the ground. If it was opened as a bar it would bring in much revenue.

On match days all the pubs do a roaring trade both with home and away supporters.

If you visit Walsall’s club near their ground away supporters are charged £2 to get in.

That’s before they have a drink, little clubs like Chorley, Bamber Bridge have a club house and that’s where a lot or revenue is raised. May I suggest you could call it Sir Tom Finney bar as a mark of respect.

M Bennett

Daily chance to grab autograph

Many is the time I asked Sir Tom Finney for his signature. He used to come into my parents’ business, Speedwell Tool Co, Deepdale, Preston as a young man in overalls.

When he bought tools, etc, I would ask him to sign the advice note. Little did we know that one day people would be asking for his autograph. I remember him as a shy, smiling, lovely young man.

May he rest in peace.

Margaret Smith, Fulwood

Why have lights been turned off

For months now I have noticed the motorway lights on the M6 from about 100 yards north of junction 28 have not been switched on.

A few lights are on around junction 29 and then there is darkness again until the M61 joins the M6. There is a large motorway sign stating the lights will be switched off from midnight to 5 am, but at the above stretch of motorway they are never on when I pass. This evening on the M6 northbound, just into the section with no motorway lights on, a police sign was asking for any witness to come forward regarding the terrible fatal accident of a young man who was reported to have been walking on this section of motorway. Was this stretch of the M6 motorway illuminated at the time when this fatal accident happened?

Paul Helmn, Charnock Richard,

Chorley