End of an era as Tom calls it a day

Tom Gray

Tom Gray

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The longest serving writer for the Glenrothes Gazette has written his last column - Nature Notes with Tom Gray is no more.

Tom’s weekly column covering nature in all its forms dates back to the Gazette’s earliest days as a tabloid in 1982.

And having taken a well earned break from regularly submitting his copy at the end of last year, Tom (79) has decided to hang up his pen and binoculars.

The Gazette’s longest running column had a very inauspiciuous start.

Back in 1982 Tom was suffering from the effects of a flu bug and decided to start writing to try and distract himself from his aches and pains.

He wrote what would turn out to be the first two of his columns and sent them off to the Gazette to see if the editor might be interested.

They were published of course, but in the wrong order.

Nevertheless, Nature Notes in the Glenrothes Gazette was up and running!

It has been a constant presence in the Gazette ever since, attracting huge interest among readers as Tom offered a unique, expert insight into some of the plant, animal and bird life of the town - and much further afield while on his travels.

Nature Notes remained one of the best read columns in the paper, with lots of correspondence and feedback.

Over the years Tom - who also edited the Fife SOC newsletter - built up an impressive number of contacts in and around Glenrothes whose first reaction when they spot a small clump of ragwort growing by the side of the road was “I must phone Tom!”

His weekly column underlined his active role within the community - Tom was a highly respected councillor, and heavily involved in a wide range or organisations.

He was elected as an SNP councillor in the early 1980s and went on to be re-elected as an independent.

Tom was also a teacher, starting off at Kirkcaldy High before moving onto various roles with the education department, teaching conservation and environmental issues.

Current Glenrothes Gazette editor Allan Crow said: “Tom’s Nature Notes column has been a hugely important part of the paper.

“We will really miss his contribution but everyone at the Gazette wishes him all the very best and thanks him for his incredible commitment.”