Tributes paid to South Shields father, rugby coach and former Harton Technology College teacher Tom Brooks who died aged 43

Tributes have been paid in memory of ‘much-loved’ father Tom Brooks, who sadly died aged 43.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:05 pm

Around 1,000 people attended a tribute rugby match and memorial meal at Westoe Rugby club on Friday, October 8 in honour of Tom, from South Shields, who sadly died last year

The 43-year-old, who was father to five children and grandfather to one tragically died after collapsing on a run on April 1 last year.

Tom, who had an underlying heart condition, was a former rugby player for Westoe Senators, Westoe Lions, head coach of rugby at University of Sunderland and South Shields Rugby Football Club’s Head Coach among other clubs.

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Tom Brooks with his wife Jacqueline Brooks.

While Tom was “obsessed” with rugby, he also taught engineering and was head of year at Harton Technology College for 12 years.

His wife Jacqueline Brooks has paid tribute to her ‘devoted’ husband, she said: “He was well known and loved by so many, he was larger than life and could never say no!

"He was a fun guy, who was always singing and dancing, he would be laughing at the fact he died on April Fool’s Day, he was that kind of guy.”

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Tom leaves behind his daughter Emily and sons Sonny and Luca.

Unfortunately, Tom passed away during the first UK lockdown which meant friends and family couldn’t attend his funeral and a wake wasn’t held.

But Westoe Senators player and good friend of Tom, Warren Ridley organised the tribute rugby match and memorial meal.

Jacqueline added: “It was such a shame we couldn’t all be together for the funeral so I thought it was a great idea when Warren came to me with the plan.

"It was a fantastic day, and I know Tom would have loved to have been there himself – Warren went above and beyond to organise this event and it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for him, we’re so unbelievably grateful to him.”

The memorial rugby match was played at Westoe Rugby club .

The event saw Sale RFC play Westoe Senators and guest speakers, Dean Richards and John Inverdale, give speeches at the evening meal.

Jacqueline said: “The whole evening was immense, we finally managed to all get together to celebrate Tom, his life and his contribution to his community.”

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Friends and family gathered at the memorial dinner.