Tributes have flooded in for D-Day Veteran Thomas Trotter, who passed away peacefully on Sunday aged 101.
Thomas was known and loved by many, and was a regular in The Last Post Pub in Thornaby, befriending owner Julie Cooper. He died peacefully in hospital after a 9 day stay, with his niece Ada Dalton and Julie by his side.
Julie had become friends with Thomas, known to many as ‘Tommy’, and even had him in her support bubble during the covid lockdown so he was able to still have some normality throughout. Now those who knew Tommy alongside Julie are hoping to organise the send off he truly deserves.
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Tommy served in the Second World War with the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Pioneer Corp. He built airfield runways for planes to safely land and was stationed on Omaha Beach on June 6 1944 – D Day.
After his 100th birthday party plans were stopped due to covid restrictions, but received over 400 birthday cards from all over the world. To make up for lost time, Julie threw him a huge celebration for his 101st at The Last Post in February.
Julie said: “Tommy turned 101 on February 10 and we threw a huge party for him on February 12, so many people turned up to support him and show him some love as he reached this unbelievable milestone. I promised to get him a plane flyover for his next birthday and I’m gutted he’ll never get to see it, but I’d love to organise one in his memory, hopefully he can see it from wherever he is.
“Although Tommy was double my age he was my best friend. Through the lockdown we used to do Facebook Lives where we’d sing together and he’d tell stories from his life, everyone used to love watching them and it was great to keep him busy through such a difficult time.”
Tommy was known and loved by many, he grew up in Stockton and was one of 12 siblings. He used to come to Julie’s pub, The Don Memorial Bar and then The Last Post, every day by either getting a lift or getting the bus down for a pint of John Smiths and a good old natter with other regulars.
Five months ago, Tommy was moved into a care home after being cared for by niece Ada, but luckily he was in Thornaby so he was still able to regularly pop into The Last Post to see his great friend Julie. Julie has now set her sights on honoring him in the best way possible.
She added: “His funeral process will be leaving from the pub as it was like his second hope to organise a get together here afterwards, it’s devastating that he’s gone but we hope to celebrate his life in the way that he would want us to He was always life and soul of any party whether it was a regimental reunion or a birthday bash, he’s given love and hope to others so we hope to do the same for him on his final journey.”
Since announcing Tommy’s sad passing on Facebook, he has received messages of condolences from many who knew him over his long life, including messages as far away as Zambia. Julie has countless memories of the seven years she was good friends with Tommy, and will continue her work at The Last Post to remember him by.
Julie said: “He was such a lovely man who was very respectful and well loved by everyone that had the chance to meet him. I’m really going to miss him in the pub as we had such a special bond as friends over the years .”
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