Tom Keys; Dudley CVS Trustee

Dudley CVS Board Member, Tom Keys, is a busy man. To be more accurate, Tom Keys is a very, very busy man.

Despite approaching his 75th birthday on New Year’s Day next year, Tom’s diary is full of things-to-do; and most of those things-to-do are of a volunteering nature.

Tom’s current list of volunteering memberships runs to thirteen organisations spread across a wide variety of causes, including sports clubs, faith groups, health and wellbeing support groups and Neighbourhood Watch.

Tom Keys was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1941. As a youth he joined the local Boys Brigade, rising to Battalion Colour Sargent. He also served as a volunteer Special Constable, which proved to be the catalyst for some five decades of volunteering to follow. His claim to fame in Northern Ireland is that he was personally blessed by the Bishop of Derry.

Tom left Northern Ireland in 1960, but his soft Irish brogue has never left him. He came to live in Kingswinford, working at Birmingham Sound Reproducers (BSR), which at the time was the largest manufacturer of record turntables in the world. Tom developed a passion for winemaking and beer brewing and became a local authority on home brewing.

Tom Keys gathers Elderberries for another batch of home-made wine.

Tom Keys gathers Elderberries for another batch of home-made wine.

For four years he was President of the Midland Region of Amateur Winemakers Federation. Tom qualified as a Wine Judge in 1984 and appeared in a Channel 4 wine programme in 2012.

It was following a talk about the secrets of winemaking Tom gave to the Dudley branch of Parkinson’s UK in 1999, that he was invited to become its President; an invitation he accepted gladly, especially as his Mother was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He is still President of the Dudley branch of Parkinson’s UK today.

From 1999 to the present day, Tom has devoted thousands of volunteer hours to all sorts of local groups and organisations, joining the Dudley CVS Board in 2008. When asked what qualities Tom brings to the Board, he said he likes to think he takes nothing at face value, questioning and probing where necessary, but always to “ensure Dudley CVS continues to go from strength to strength towards achieving its objectives.”

Tom served as a Justice of the Peace on the Dudley Bench for 9 years. Tom remains passionate about home-brewing and makes about 240 bottles of wine from local fruit and vegetables each year. His other passion is crown green bowling, a pastime he took up four years ago after giving up playing golf (Tom, is a former Captain of Wrottesley Golf Club 2006/7). Tom is currently Chairman of Stourbridge Sons of Rest, vice-captain of the Mary Stevens Bowling Club B Team.

A third passion of Tom’s is photography. For the last dozen years or so he has given fundraising photography and video presentations of places he has visited with his wife, Patricia. The next DVD show is 30th October at the Wesley Chapel, in Mount Pleasant at 6.00pm. For more information e-mail: tomkeys@blueyonder.co.uk.

 

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