Last Tuesday was a bitter-sweet day. On the up-side I was representing TNS, not so good was the fact it was at a funeral. Since the involvement of the business at the start of the season, the relationship between RUKGroup and TNS has gone from strength to strength.
Therefore, it was with great sadness that we received the news of Tom Clarke’s passing. The father of MD, Neil Clarke, as a club we paid our respects at the previous home game by holding a one-minute silence prior to kick-off.
Although just a few months of partnership between the club and the business have passed, the people-friendships between the two have been very strong, and Tom’s passing affected us all.
Driving northbound on the A41 to attend the funeral, in Ellesmere Port, I had mixed feelings. There was the obvious sadness of the occasion, yet at the same time a sense of honour to be officially representing TNS, as we said our final farewells to a good man.
The service itself was very fitting, as tributes were paid by several, including Neil and Jayne Robb – son and granddaughter respectively. It was also very humbling to see the effect that TNS had on Tom in such a short time.
The Minister mentioned us in his address, as did Neil in his own personal tribute from the podium. In addition, one of the photographs used in the order of service booklet was of Tom at Park Hall on match-day.
Following the funeral and committal, we went to Chester racecourse as people mingled more informally, sharing their moments and memories.
It was good to catch up with Simon Marsden, one of the RUKGroup Directors I have come to know and get on well with, as well as meeting other employees for the first time.
You can never say that the day of a funeral is good, but in context it was just that.
RIP, Tom Clarke, from all of us at The New Saints FC.