In kind acts of remembrance we have received numerous emails and messages regards Tom. Following his funeral yesterday we re-publish some as a fitting tribute to a man, whom through his actions, played a large part in ensuring Britain’s fishing would one day be free for another generation to enjoy. Courageously and with principle doing so when many others wouldn’t. He’ll always be remembered.
I knew Tom through business (although not that well) before we joined forces through the Save Britain’s Fish campaign. It all started 28 years ago when representatives of the Scottish Industry came down to York for a training meeting.
I met them at the railway station and took them to their Hotel. Later I spoke to them all about my concerns for our industry. Tom saw the situation immediately and became our champion and dear friend, along with his family and the solid commitment and dedication of FALs vice-chair John Thomson.
From that day Tom commenced a journey of outstanding leadership and courage against all odds. He spent hours studying constitutional law to the extent he could take on any barrister. His first public appearance was in Cork. Ireland in May 1993. With his powerful and passionate speech being a forerunner of many to come at political conferences and various meetings around the whole of the United Kingdom.
Tom never flinched or faltered in his effort for the UK to take back control of our 200 nautical mile/median line Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the benefit of our coastal communities. He was an inspiration not just for the industry he so cared for, but across other eurosceptic movements too.
This was at a time when many said it was an impossible task and that the UK would never ever leave the European Union. Thankfully Tom lived to see this happen at 11pm this 31st of January. It is not just our Industry, but the United Kingdom that owes Tom a great deal of gratitude.
It wasn’t all heavy going, we had fun on the campaign trail, and laughs at the antics we got up to in order to get our message across. You were great Tom, you will always be remembered, and our thoughts and prayers are with your family
John Ashworth – Leader of Save Britain’s Fish & FFL
Tom realised earlier than most what a disaster the CFP would be for the British fishing industry. He fought like a warrior for us to get back national control. He lived to see Brexit and let us hope that the government fulfils the next stage.
Tom Hay was one of the most remarkable and thoroughly admirable people that it has ever been my privilege to have known.
Our long and happy association was occasioned by our coming together in pursuit of the interests of the ‘Save Britain’s Fish’ campaign – me as a humble backbencher and Tom as the campaign’s authoritative fount of knowledge and wisdom.
Tom worked tirelessly and selflessly in dedicated opposition to the depredations imposed upon his industry by the European Union’s ‘Common Fisheries Policy’ and must be given no little credit for having ultimately influenced the national decision to end our long and unhappy involvement with it.
May Tom’s soul rest in peace, secure in the knowledge that he served his industry and the country he loved in a most exemplary and commendable manner”.
Christopher Gill – Former Conservative MP & Freedom Association Chair
Tom Hay was a hero, and together with others, like John Ashworth, made the Save Britain’s Fish Campaign a tremendous and inspiring example for us all.
I vividly remember a rousing speech of Tom’s. He spoke of the waste forced on our fishermen of God’s good food when they had to throw back any catch that exceeded their quota permit. That fish could have been preserved and sent to parts of the world where people didn’t have enough to eat. He was angry too by the contamination of the sea with dead fish. It was a remarkable speech and if only politicians, particularly those in Brussels had heard it too.
It was a privilege to be a small part of the Campaign and to know Tom Hay.
May his courageous soul rest in peace.
Lisl Biggs-Davison – Long Term Independence Campaigner with SBF and the late Helen Szamuely