The following text is from an article in the Advertiser on 1st January 1970.
Wide experience has given Tom Moston…
Faith in the New Town’s future
Dedication is something that Tom Moston knows more than a little bit about. His service to the community has been long and though he is stepping a little into the background, what he has given has been very much appreciated.
Tom, who was 77 on Sunday, is a former councillor and church treasurer and he has served on numerous committees in and around the district. This service has made him well known and not only in Skelmersdale. But Tom Moston is the sort of man who can make friends with anyone: “I believe in seeing a man for what he is regardless of his religion, colour or politics,” he says.
That is Tom Moston. Easy to get to known and a Skemmer through and rthrough – and jolly proud of it, too.
“I have lived in Skelmersdale all my life. My parents were Skelmersdale people. It is a good place to live and it will be even better in the future,” he said.
It is quite a thing to find one of the original Skelmersdale residents, those who remember the mines and Sandy Lane as it was before New Towns were ever needed. Many resent its coming for putting them out of their homes, for the massive development and the changing of the old ways. But not Tom.
He was a Skelmersdale and Holland Urban District Council councillors and before that a member of the old Skelmersdale UDC and was instrumental in the formation of the New Town.
“I think when it is finished it will all have been worthwhile. In the past I’ve spoken to people about this and said to them ‘It is alright you paying five and sixpenny rent but you have no bathroom. You can’t go on like that for the rest of your life.’
“I don’t begrudge anyone getting on. Now when they have gone to the New Town and living in good conditions and nice houses they say to me ‘I’m glad we are here’ and I say ‘I told you so’.”
Yes, Tom Moston is a popular man and people still knock at his door in Barnes Road and make their complaints to him as though he was still a councillor.
“I try to help them but I am not intouch as well as I used to be and I tell them to go to the Town Hall and see ‘such a body’ who will help them.”
When he retired from the council earlier this year Tom was one of its longest serving members. But it is quite amusing to learn how he first got on the council.
“It was a trick. It would not happen these days but I had to see the funny side of it at the time. I had veenon the Skelmersdale Co-op Committee for some years and they were looking for a candidate for a seat on the council. I had been asked several times before but was not too keen. A good friend of mine said that if I would stand then he would stand also. It was agreed.
“The day before the nominations closed I was at work and both names were down for election. But while I was sweating down the pit my friend had nipped into the Town Hall and pulled his name out. Of course, when I got home it was too late to withdraw,” said Mr Moston with a chuckle.
Though in effect it was a dupe that he won a place on the council in 1949, his success in that capacity was not. He was chairman of the council twice and chairman of every committee except finance twice during his local government career. Conferences, committee meetings, dinners and reception brought him into contact with hundred of people, many of whom became his friends. He still likes to meet them and to keep intouch.
His work down the pits, which started when he was 13 when he left Barnes Road School, just a few yards from his house, was hard. “It always was,” said Tom, who worked the White Moss Colliery for 52 years.
A short time before his retirement from the pit 13 years ago he was involved in an accident which left him with a shoulder injury. He doesn’t rank the accident as serious compared with other pit disaster tragedies but it called for an eight month course of treatment.
Tom Moston married 45 years ago at the Congregational Church. His wife, Ada, now 79, was a Skelmersdale girl.
The Congregational Church has always been, and still is, a large part of his life. His parents were caretakers there and for the past 29 years he has been treasurer. He only retired last week. He has been organist and choirmaster, music and singing ranking high in his leisure time pursuits. It was unfortunate that a seizure three years ago cut short his singing but it hasn’t stopped him playing the organ and piano.
He still attends church and even just after his illness he allowed a church members to pick him up and take him to church.
Singing took Tom Moston all over the country abd he says he has sung in every county in England. During the First World War his ability as a pianist brought great comfort to army colleagues. He was months serving on the Albert front at Ypres.
The opening of the new Labour Club in Skelmersdale is something that Tom welcomes. He was one of the founder members of the old club at the top of Sandy Lane and for a long time has been aware of its inadequacies.
Football too has played its part in the life of this man who, though modest in his waysm is always willing to help and advise. He was on Skelmersdale United’s books in his younger days and is still an ardent supporter. He played in the Ormskirk League for the Stormy Albion and Westhead Juniors sides.
Tom has led an active life but nowm sensibly, he is slowing things down a little. The quieter pace of life will no doubt give him more time to reflect on the past, which holds many happy memories for him.