(I remember my uncle Tom well and still have many stamps he gave me. As children, we were fascinated by his false left arm lost through cancer, too young to realise how seriously ill he was. He died in 1976. His stamp collection was something to behold and had every possible Belgium stamp. It was bequeathed to a museum in Belgium. )
To refer to Mr T A Jones, of Ramsgate, who died last month at the age of 76, as “Niffer” might seem to some as disrespectful but to inumerable pupils at St Georges Boys’ School in the nineteen-twenties and thirties it was an appropriate sobriquet,affectionately bestowed on a gifted teacher who introduced them to the marvels of science and showed them how to prepare intriguing if smelly potions in the schools chemistry lab.
After the 1939-45 war, Tom Jones transferred to Chatham House School where he again taught chemistry. Music too was one of his abiding interests and for a long time, he was deputy organist at St Georges Church and a member of its choir. Illness cruelly curtailed his musical activities in later years but he continued to follow another of his lifelong pursuits, that of philately. He was a recognised authority on the stamps of Belgium and in 1974 wrote and published an informative book on the railway parcels post cancellations of that country.
He will long be remembered by those who knew him, not least for his indomitable courage, cheerfulness, and determination to thwart the disease with which he was sorely afflicted.