My father, Mike Tomlin, who has died aged 91, was driven by his Unitarian beliefs to do whatever he could for his community to leave the world a better place. Following his retirement in 1990 from his job as a tax inspector, he set up and took part in several charitable organisations dealing with social deprivation across Teesside.
He was treasurer and chair of the Teesside One World Centre, which promoted global justice and equality through education, and a founder and chair of Frade, which collects, repairs and redistributes furniture. In 2006, Mike joined a group of concerned individuals as treasurer to set up Justice First, based in Stockton-on-Tees, whose main concern is to support people who seek asylum in the UK.
Alongside this he served for 27 years as an advice worker and on the management committee at Citizens’ Advice. Because of his professional expertise he was able to help clients with their tax affairs and train others to do the same. He was a life-long Unitarian, treasurer of Stockton Unitarian Church, 1975-2022, president of the general assembly, 1994-95, chair of the ministers’ pension fund and national treasurer of the Unitarian movement from 1995 to 2006.
Mike believed that he had a calling to help and was described by Justice First’s founder Pete Widlinski as “an important part of the social fabric and history of Teesside”.
Born in Cambridge, the son of Harold, a railway accounts clerk, and Phyllis (nee Hinkins), who worked at a publisher, Mike attended Luton modern school. In 1949 he passed the exam to work at the Inland Revenue, but had to defer his place for two years to complete his national service in the RAF. He began work as a tax officer in Hertford in 1951, then moved to Birmingham, where he was promoted to inspector of taxes.
He met Jane Laud when they ran a sea scouts troop together in Sutton Coldfield. They married in 1960 and lived in Darlington, where he discovered his love for open spaces. I was born in 1962, followed by my sister, Sally, in 1966, before we all moved to Middlesbrough later that year. A keen walker, he conquered his first Wainwright (Coniston Old Man) in 1974 and went on to climb at least 100 more. His love of walking and the outdoors also took him to Switzerland, France, Spain, and the US.
Mike is survived by Jane, Sally and me, and four grandchildren.