Former Councillor Tom Fleming: an appreciation by Bill Howatson

The photo shows Tom Fleming with fellow Lib Dems Sir Robert Smith MP, Cllr Bill Howatson and Mike Rumbles with their train tickets for the very first train stopping at Laurencekirk Station. Tom was a very strong local councillor who worked hard with his colleagues to see his dream of the station re-opening.
The photo shows Tom Fleming with fellow Lib Dems Sir Robert Smith MP, Cllr Bill Howatson and Mike Rumbles with their train tickets for the very first train stopping at Laurencekirk Station. Tom was a very strong local councillor who worked hard with his colleagues to see his dream of the station re-opening.

The untimely death of former Aberdeenshire Councillor, Tom Fleming has robbed the Mearns community of an upstanding public servant.

He was also a passionate personality and a man who loved life and his family to the full.

Tom, from Fettercairn, was born at Airlie in Angus on January 2, 1936, and was brought up on a series of farms in Angus and the Mearns, where his father, Adam, was grieve.

He was educated in Laurencekirk and joined Reekie Engineering as an apprentice mechanic after leaving school – a career that spanned a life time and saw him become a key figure in the farming life of the Mearns and further afield.

A skilled mechanic with an encyclopaedic knowledge of tractors and garden machinery, Tom spent time in the workshop, on farms, practising his craft, and rising to be branch manager and leading a new venture for the company in Arbroath, as well as becoming one of the UK’s top Massey Ferguson tractor salesmen in 1974.

He travelled over wide swathes of Scotland for Reekie, but he also had a passionate love of the old ‘Grey Fergies’, and their successors, which gave him a unique place in the world of Ferguson enthusiasts, and earned the reputation as a great ambassador for the tractor that did so much to revolutionise cultivation in the last century.

After retiring from Reekie in 2001, Tom dedicated his life to public service, serving with distinction as an Aberdeenshire councillor for firstly the Mearns Central Ward from 2003, and latterly for the Mearns Ward from 2007-2012.

Tom took a keen interest in his ward, and his constituents, constantly adopting a common sense approach to policies and politics.

He fought his corner strongly, whether it was supporting the new Mearns Community School, taking up the cudgels for a grade separated junction on the A90 at Laurencekirk, or dealing conscientiously with individual constituents.

Tom was a plain talking guy who spoke candidly and honestly about council issues and was consistently able to see the wood from the trees, and get to the point of an issue.

Such was the impact that he made on his community he was still getting calls and questions from residents long after he stood down from the council.

Apart from his interest in Rotary, Probus and The Fettercairn Public Property committee in which he played significant parts, he was a keen bowler, curler and golfer.

He also a keen supporter of Mearns Healthy Living and the Mearns Area Partnership and was keen to undertake voluntary work and to give support to individuals who required help.

When it came to community endeavour and support, Tom walked the talk and took great pleasure in being active and supportive.

Tom, married to Dorothy, in 1957, but who predeceased him, is survived by son Tom and daughter, Audrey, and their spouses Dorothy and Gordon.

He was a doting grandfather of Carron, Clare, Vicki and Tracy and their partners, Stephen, Ryan, and Jamie.

The funeral service is at Fettercairn Parish Church today ( Thursday) at 1.30 pm, and thereafter to Fettercairn Cemetery, to which all relatives and friends are respectfully invited.