‘One of life’s gentlemen’

Ex- Chief Inspector Tom Sumner
Ex- Chief Inspector Tom Sumner

A PAST police chief in Clitheroe, Thomas James Sumner, who was always known simply as Tom, has died aged 87 years.

For several years, Tom was the senior ranking officer at Clitheroe Police Station as both Inspector and, following the local government boundary changes of 1974, he was promoted to Chief Inspector on the formation of a much larger sub-division.

Tom was a resident of the town, living in Claremont Avenue, and whilst living in Clitheroe he was a keen Rotarian. On his retirement in 1980 he moved to Lytham St Anne’s and remained there until his death.

A native of Scarisbrick, Tom commenced his employment as a solicitor’s clerk before joining the RAF in 1943. During the War, Tom served his country as a pilot sergeant, flying Lancaster Bombers, and then continued in the RAF until 1950, when he joined the Lancashire Constabulary.

Before his time at Clitheroe, Tom was a sergeant on the training staff at the police training centre, at Bruche, near Warrington.

Retired Inspector John Spencer, who was a contemporary of Tom’s at Clitheroe during the 1970’s said: “Tom was one of life’s gentlemen. He was a quiet and thoughtful man, of very high personal and professional standards.

“He can be remembered as one who has spent his working life in the service of his country and also for the benefit of the public of Lancashire.”

On Monday Tom’s friends and family attended a service at Lytham Crematorium, which was enhanced by a guard of honour provided by the Royal British Legion and the Air Crew Association.

Tom is survived by his wife Irene and his daughter Janet.