A former bomb disposal expert from Birmingham who battled to clean up the nation’s TV screens along with Mary Whitehouse has died.
Tom Wareing, who also served as a councillor in Redditch for more than 30 years, passed away at the age of 86 after a battle with prostate cancer.
Mr Wareing, originally from Sparkbrook in Birmingham, had been a Royal Engineers bomb disposal expert and served in Palestine after the end of the Second World War, when the country was consumed in violence.
He was also an avid contributor to the Birmingham Post’s comment pages and many other publications, penning an estimated 2,000 letters over the course of his life on topics ranging from education, training and defence of moral and social standards in society.
Such was his reputation that he eventually became a national figure on the issue of media smut, and was, along with Mary Whitehouse, the face of the National Viewers & Listeners Association.
But he was horrified to be targeted by a hate campaign by people who were outraged at his moral crusade.
Son, Dr Mark Wareing, described his father as living a “full and fascinating life”.
He said: “My father always had a fascination with the Army and joined the Home Guard anti-aircraft battery based at Bartley Green having lied about his age in order to enlist.
“This led to a lifetime obsession with the British Army. He was a brave man and later became a bomb disposal expert. While he was serving in Palestine, he received a commendation for finding a secret room containing a cache of arms.”
He left school at the age of 14 to become an apprentice bricklayer with WJ Whittall & Sons and visited Redditch for the first time in 1944 to build a new bay at the High Duty Alloys factory.
By that time he had been a member of the Home Guard anti-aircraft battery based at Bartley Green for two years.
At the age of 17 Mr Wareing had been promoted to Troop Sergeant and enlisted into the Corps of Royal Engineers as a regular soldier.
He met wife-to-be Beryl Fisher at the Yardley Wood Baptist Church, and in 1947 he made what he described as “ the wisest decision I have ever made in my life” and married her during leave from Palestine.
A year later, while serving in Kenya, he contracted malaria, which led to him being discharged from the Army as medically unfit.
Mr Wareing went on to have a successful career as a college lecturer and training adviser with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
He was chairman of Dingleside Middle School governors for more than 30 years, chaired the Midlands regional branch of the National Viewers and Listeners Association and the Astwood Bank Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Mr Wareing also worked with his wife on campaigns against gratuitous violence on television and the pornography industry.
Dr Wareing said: “His campaign against gratuitous violence and immorality within the media and the pornography industry led to many appearances on television and local radio, which my father found quite harrowing.
“He always said that he could only engage in this fight by seeking strength through prayer and with the support of Beryl. I can remember regular bouts of nuisance phone calls and all manner of offensive material arriving at the family home during these years.”
After leaving the Army he studied at Suffolk Street College of Technology in Birmingham, which led to the award of a first class city & guilds full-technological certificate.
Mr Wareing’s last construction project in Birmingham was as general foreman on the Duddeston Flats project before securing a post as a full-time lecturer in Building Crafts and Supervisory Studies at Bromsgrove College of Further Education.
He also went back to the military, serving as regimental sergeant major with 13th battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was commissioned to the rank of lieutenant to serve as officer commanding the Redditch unit of the 4th Worcestershire Cadet Regiment.
He resigned from the Territorial Army to design and build a new family home at Webheath where the family lived until 1987.
Labour Party member Mr Wareing served as a councillor in the Redditch area from 1973-1977, but increasingly disenchanted with the left wing of the party, became an independent before joining the Conservatives.
He served two further terms as a Redditch borough councillor (1979-1983 and 1991-1995) before being elected as a county councillor on the newly established Worcestershire County Council until 2005.
Son Paul Wareing added: “He was a very loving father and generous to all who met him in his lifetime. He had many opinions and was a very moralistic man with a great Christian faith.”
He is survived by wife of 66 years, Beryl, four sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.