My old mate Tom Harding

I first became a friend of Joe’s father Tom around 1985 when I stood as an independent candidate in the election for Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough council and Tom agreed to become my election agent.

Tom had served in the Welsh Guards during world war2 and was still involved with the guards until his death.

One time I can recall that Tom phoned to say that the Welsh Guards were being presented with their Welsh leeks on St David’s day and this particular year the parade was to be held at Crickhowell.

I could detect that this was a hint so I told Tom I would take him there if he wanted to go.

The following morning we set out early in order to watch the ceremony proper.

We arrived at the parade ground and watched the guardsmen being presented with their leeks and Tom chuffed to bits and was obviously loving every minute as it brought back old memories.

While we were stood there I caught the eye of the Regimental Sergeant Major and explained that Tom had held that post himself many years before. He came over to speak to Tom and it seemed that his father had served with the same senior officers that Tom had.

He asked Tom if he would like to inspect the Regimental Colors?

Tom was over the moon when he shrieked to the Colors Guard at the end of the parade ground who dually sprang to attention and marched in two ranks down to where we were standing and the RSM asked Tom if he would like to inspect the guard and colors?

Now Tom usually used a walking stick, but he stood bolt upright and his walking stick now became a Swagger Stick under his arm as he inspected his troops. His old mob really did him proud both on the parade ground and in the officer’s mess after.

I dually took a photo of Tom with the colors and it held pride of place in his house for many years.

Tom was a smashing bloke and I was proud to have had him as an election agent and a long time friend.

Tom Harding (Right) fellow Welsh Guardsman Brian Knox (Deceased)

Tom Harding (Right) with fellow Welsh Guardsman Brian Knox (Deceased)

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