Friends of the late former Provost Tom Baird have been paying tribute to his lifetime’s commitment to his home town, describing him as “a man who was respected everywhere”.
His recent funeral saw St Michael’s church at capacity, with the Reed Band – in full uniform – playing in his honour.
Tom was educated at Linlithgow West Port Primary School and Linlithgow Academy, and played football for the ATC, representing Scotland, then went to technical college before joining his dad in their garage at StrawberryBank, taking over the business when his father died.
He met his wife-to-be, Mary Fraser, in McIntyre’s fish and chip shop on the High Street (no longer there) and they married in 1966. The couple were to have two children, daughter Carole and son Robin, and Carole gave Tom two twin granddaughters Erin and Heather. Tom’s many interests included huge support for Linlithgow Rose FC, and in 1966 became a volunteer fireman – and drove the fire engine,
Lifelong friend former Provost Hector Woodhouse said: “Tom joined the Reed Band in the 60’s and played the trombone for a number of years.
“He left for a few years due to other commitments and rejoined in 2005 when they were looking for players.
“With his talent for rhythm they trusted him with the bass drum, which he beat in perfect time until April this year, when his health deteriorated.”
Not long after he married Tom became a member of the Linlithgow Rose Football club, where he was a very enthusiastic member, and – also in 1966 – he joined the volunteer fire service and became the driver of the appliance.
Tom joined the Round Table in 1970, where he proved a major asset – he was the key man in building many Marches’ floats, from which he had experience from earlier years.
The Round Table brought many close family lifetime friendships, including Hector Woodhouse, KIen Lindsey, Iain Stobie, Ed Morton, and Neil Millar, all becoming members of the Deacons’ Court in later years.
In the same year also joined the Ancient Brazen Masonic Lodge in Linlithgow. He held many offices and became Master 1980 and 81 – he was young enough to have the distinction of a son born in his year of office.
Tom was always a supporter of the Riding of Linlithgow Marches.
He was a member of the Fraternity of Dyers and in 1974 was elected to the first Court of the Deacons of the Ancient and Royal Burgh of Linlithgow.
Tom became Provost 1988 to 1990, following his father George, who was Provost of the Royal Burgh 1964-67
In 1989 for the celebration of 600 years of the Burgh’s Royal Charter, Provost Tom Baird met the Queen on her visit to Linlithgow.
Hector Woodhouse commented: “He gave 100 per cent to every venture in which he was involved – he was a fine man indeed.” He recalls, as a particularly fond memory, that Tom and Mary had a magnificent golden wedding party.
He is survived by Mary, daughter Carole and son Robin.