Community stalwart Tommy always gave his time freely

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE Fettercairn community formed a guard of honour on the street leading up to the Fettercairn Community and Youth Centre last month as community stalwart Tommy Cousins, who passed away on October 26 aged 73, was brought there on his final journey.

Tommy was a familiar face to many in Fettercairn and had strong belief in and praise for the area, which he moved to in the early 80s and shortly afterwards got involved in community organisations.

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Tommy Cousins

Philip MacAdam, the manager of the Fettercairn Community and Youth Centre, told The Echo: “One of the things Tommy used to say was that the original community centre in Fettercairn was built by people in the area and they paid £1 per brick every week.”

When the new community centre was developed Tommy was still a dedicated community worker and volunteer, and he had a particular passion for gardening.

“He had green fingers,” said Philip. “He did an awful lot of work in the community garden.

“His last project was a memorial garden for people who couldn’t go to their loved ones in the graveyards in Bohernabreena or Palmerstown.

“He always gave his time freely, and even in the last few years he would still come into the centre and mop the floor and tidy the car park.”

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The memorial garden in Fettercairn

Tommy also collaborated with another local gardener, Sean Farrell, and he was instrumental in setting up the Brookfield/Fettercairn Men’s Shed.

The father-of-five was a passionate supporter of Leeds United Football Club, and he was well-liked in Fettercairn for his infectious sense of humour and his willingness to help others.

“He had no filter – he was a character,” said Philip. “Behind the guarded exterior, he was a big softy. He’d throw himself into anything to help.”

When Philip would start his shift at the centre on Thursday mornings, on the day when The Echo is delivered, Tommy would routinely be there before him, to pick up a few copies of the paper to deliver them to Fettercairn residents who weren’t able to pick one up themselves.

“He was always thinking of others,” added Philip.

Following the funeral Mass last month, Tommy’s last stop on the way to Mount Venus Cemetery was the community centre and the community garden in Fettercairn, where many residents formed a guard of honour and balloons in the blue, yellow and white of Leeds United FC were released.

Tommy sadly never got to do the next project he wanted to carry out in the community memorial garden – the construction of a pergola – but the community is determined to carry out the project on Tommy’s behalf, and a plaque will be erected in the memorial garden in honour of him.

Tommy was the husband of the late Ann, and he is survived by his sons Mark, Jonathan, Terence, Raymond and Stephen, and his grandchildren, daughters-in-law Ann-Marie, Pamela, Gemma, Sandra and Shauna, brothers, nieces, nephews, extended family, neighbours and his large circle of friends.

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