Essex: Tributes pour in for “fantastic” environmental campaigner Tom Holme

TRIBUTES have flooded in for a “fantastically generous” rural campaigner who has died aged 54.

Tom Holme, who until recently was chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural Essex (CPRE), died while on holiday in Cornwall.

His widow Pippa said he “died tragically following a depressive illness”.

“We’re all absolutely devastated,” she added. “Tom was a fantastic husband and father.

“He was very passionate about trees and CPRE for a long time and we’re overcome by the kindness from all the friends who knew him.”

The father-to-four, who lived in Aldham near Colchester for most of his life, was a committed environmental campaigner.

In an interview a few years ago he admitted to being “increasingly obsessed by trees and tree planting” and described the Colne Valley as an “overlooked gem”.

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Charles Clover, author and chairman of the Dedham Vale Society, knew Mr Holme from their days at Holmwood House School, Lexden.

“He was probably my best friend for many years,” he said. “Tom was an excellent person in every way. This is why this is utterly tragic.

“He was responsible, concerned about his family and protective of his local environment.

“He was doing a great job so this is just one of those utterly tragic things none of us can do anything about.

“His end was never the end you’d expect for a man like this.”

Nicholas Percival, managing director of Nicholas Percival Estate Agents, who knew Tom since he was six, said he would be greatly missed. “He was fantastically generous family man,” he added. “He was very quiet, very good and very bright.”

After Holmwood House School Mr Holme went onto independent boarding school Marlborough College before studying at the University of Oxford.

He enjoyed a career in the City as an independent financial advisor before becoming a consultant for Scrutton Bland.

His uncle Michael Gordon-Jones, of Fronk’s Road, Harwich, said: “He was a great family man. He was a thoroughly nice chap, I liked him.”

Mr Holme, speaking in a magazine interview a few years ago, said: “Aldham is a special place because we are a proper community. The church and the village hall are at the heart of the village and of village life. Our roots are deep and we try to help each other.”

Mr Holme leaves behind Pippa and children David, Henry, Poppy and Simon.

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