Sir Tom Finney CBE
Past President and Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Preston, Sir Tom Finney, passed away on 14 February 2014 aged 92. Sir Tom became a Rotarian in 1961 and was Club President in 1971-72. He will be sadly missed by everyone that watched him play or was influenced by his involvement in the community of Preston.
Sir Tom Finney's 90th birthday was celebrated in April 2012 by friends fans and Rotarians at Preston North End's Deepdale ground.
The meeting of the Rotary Club of Preston attracted over 50 Rotarians and guests from 14 Clubs throughout the Northwest, and was honoured by the presence of Preston Mayor Councillor Bobbie Cartwright and her consort Councillor Neil Cartwright.
The highlight of a talk by local historian Steve Williams entitled “Preston North End in the Tom Finney Era” came when Steve showed pictures of Sir Tom’s last match for PNE in 1960 and asked those present who attended that match. Fully a third of the audience raised their hands!And this knowledge and enthusiasm was evident throughout the talk, as the fans repeatedly identified team members from the 50’s amongst Steves illustrations.
Held in the Guild Lounge in the new Invincibles stand at the Deepdale ground, the talk provoked such interest that after the formal end of the meeting, around two dozen members and visitors remained behind to share their own personal reminiscences of the great man.
The event, timed to coincide with Sir Tom’s 90th birthday, attracted messages of goodwill including greetings from the Rotary Club of Gibraltar where Sir Tom made many lasting friends on Club visits when he was still active. Sadly now largely immobile, Sir Tom nevertheless received the tributes paid to him by his many fans and friends in Rotary.
Visiting Clubs represented at the meeting were Blackburn, Blackpool Palatine, Blackpool South, Chorley Astley, Church & Oswaldtwistle, Clitheroe, Darwen, Kirkham & Rural Flyde, Lancaster, Lytham, Preston South, St. Annes-on-Sea and Thornton Cleveleys.