The Highland Council is to bestow the title of Freeman, a prestigious honour which is rarely presented, to a Kingussie man in recognition of his outstanding dedication to many aspects of his local community.
Mr Tom Wade was born in Kingussie. On leaving school he was employed in the finance department of a Civil Engineering firm before leaving to join the RAF in 1942. He trained in England and Canada prior to completing a tour of operations with Bomber Command. Commended for bravery, Tom was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and went on to serve in India until the end of the War. He then returned to clerical work and varied employment before taking over the family business in Kinguissie which is now known as The Tipsy Laird. He then moved to run the Paper Shop on King Street from where he retired in 1987.
Tom's career in Local Government began when he was elected to Kingussie Town Council in 1964 and subsequently became Convener of the Town Council Lighting Committee. He became Provost of Kingussie and Justice of the Peace in 1968 and held office until Local Government reorganisation in 1974. Following the elections Tom served on the Badenoch and Strathspey District Council and was appointed Chairman of the Licensing Board and the District Court Justices.
Following the 1992 District Council elections he was appointed Vice Chairman of the District Council and the District Sports Council and reappointed Chairman of the Licensing Board. He also represented the District Council on the Planning Committee, Voluntary Action in Badenoch and Strathspey, Housing and Environmental Services Committees and on the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
When The Highland Council was created in 1995 Tom sat on the Culture and Leisure, Social Services and Budget Group Committees as well as continuing his role as Chair of the Licensing Board and District Court Justices.
He retired from The Highland Council in 1999 due to the ill health of his wife and subsequently joined Kingussie and Vicinity Community Council, serving for many years as Treasurer. Tom retired from the Community Council earlier this year at the age of 87 after a career in local politics spanning nearly 5 decades.
Outwith politics, Tom served the community of Kingussie in many ways most notably on the shinty pitch as a dedicated player, referee and administrator spanning 40 years including a brief spell with Kincraig and Inverness clubs. He started training the “youngsters” when he was only aged 13 himself. He was Club Captain in 1949, served as Treasurer from 1948 to 1953 and as Secretary from 1951 to 1968, leading the Kingussie team to the Camanachd Cup final in 1961 – the first final the club had won in 40 years. He was Club President from 1968 to 1970 and Chieftain from 1982 to 1985.
Over the years he has been a member of Kingussie High School and Primary School Boards, the Medical Equipment Fund Committee, Abbeyfield Executive Committee and Save St Vincent’s action Group. In 1962 Tom was a founder member of the Badenoch Angling Club and is still invloved, holding the posts of secretary and treasurer. He is also a founder member of, and actively involved with, the pressure group POST (Protect Our Services Today) and Honorary President of “The Waders” – the support group for the Wade Centre which was named after him.
The Councillors for the Badenoch and Strathspey Ward unanimously agreed that Mr Thomas Wade is a worthy recipient of the Freedom of Kingussie.
Highland Council Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: “Tom has lived his working and retired years in service to the community. Many people’s lives have been enriched by his stalwart efforts and we are delighted that he will become a Freeman. I am sure all the people he has served so diligently for many years, as well as family, neighbours and friends will want to join us in congratulating him on this great honour.”
A special presentation ceremony will be held later this year in Kingussie.