Tributes have been paid to Tom Gray, one of Glenrothes’ most loved and respected figures.
He was a long-serving local councillor, a great champion of many causes in the town and, of course, the author of the Gazette’s ‘Nature Notes’ which ran for three decades.
Born 1934 in New Stevenston North Lanarkshire and later raised in Bellshill, Tom’s love for wildlife and nature came from an early age, and on leaving school he later gained a degree in Zoology at Glasgow University.
Tom then graduated from Jordanhill Teacher Training College, working first as a teacher in Elgin before moving overseas to Ghana where he spent 10 years performing and auditing teacher training at the Winneba Teacher Training College. He then spent a further three years as a school inspector in Borneo before returning to Ghana and then back to Glenrothes in 1970 to teach at Kennoway, Kirkcaldy and Glenwood High Schools.
He moved to Glenrothes in 1970 and the following year while visiting Vane Farm nature reserve in Loch Leven met his future wife Bridget who was employed there.
Tom’s weekly column covering nature of forms dates back to the Gazette’s earliest days as a tabloid in 1982, but it had a inauspicious start.
While at home suffering from flu 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 and he spent the next 31 years until 2013 offering his unique, expert insight into all aspects of the local animal and bird life.
Nature Notes attracted a huge following and remained one of the best read columns in the paper, underlining his active role within the community involving himself in a wide range or organisations.
He also served as an SNP councillor on Kirkcaldy District Council for nine years working for the community of South Parks and later as an independent councillor for a further decade.
Tom passed away peacefully at Ninewells Hospital on Thursday, March 26 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Bridget, children Hamish, Amanda, Ian, Lucinda, Larissa, David and Alasdair. Friends are welcome to attend a service at Crosbie Matthews, Church Street, Glenrothes at 11.30 a.m. on April 6. A burial will follow at St Drostans’ Church, Markinch.