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ColinThe Air Ambulance Service
In loving memory of Colin Tonks who sadly passed away on 13th January 2019 in Bankwood Care Home Duffield Derbyshire aged 94 years. Colin formerly of Duffield and West Hallam will be sadly missed by all his loving family and friends.
Colin was born on 18 October 1924 in Four Oaks, Sutton Colfield. He attended Aston Commercial School in Aston, Birmingham....joined there by his cousin Pete.
In 1942 the family moved to Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield. In October 1942 he joined the RAFVR, being demobbed in 1945. At this time he also completed his apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering (started at Constructors in Birmingham completing it whilst working for Radiation).
A life long Villa supporter, he and Mavis would go to Villa Park regularly, standing amongst the throngs on the terraces, also Colin loved cricket, following Warwickshire CCC and latterly also following and watching Derbyshire CCC. He was a member of Wylde Green Congregational Church tennis club, alongside Mavis. He would participate in the annual tennis matches and through this club he made many friends......the Medinas and the Taylors to name but two families.
In 1948 he joined the Radiation Design Unit and in June of that year married Mavis. His daughters, Susan born 1951 and Jane born 1953 completed the family.
In 1954 he joined the RSA, eventually gaining FRSA status. In 1955 he joined the design team at Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company in Willenhall, Staffs as their Design Manager. Then in 1956 he joined SAID (the society became the Chartered Society of Designers) and after time he gained Fellowship status.
In 1964 he took up a new position as Chief Designer for Glow-Worm based in Milford....so the family moved to Duffield. Here he was able to enjoy his hobbies of walking, photography and painting, living in this lovely countryside.
Eventually he and Mavis purchased a caravan which they sited in Tywyn, Mid Wales. They escaped most weekends in the summer to ramble their favourite paths and walk along the beaches to Aberdovey or the Dysynni River. He always loved this part of the country and talked about it a lot, taking his last holiday there with his cousin Pete. Once a year he would ensure he took a trip up the Tal-y-Lyn railway, then walking up the Dolgoch Falls or over the hills at Abergynolwyn.
This love of walking also gave them hours of pleasure walking locally in Duffield, monitoring the footpaths for the Duffield Parish Council and once retired days out in the Peak District, eating their lunch in the hedge bottom to escape incelement weather! Also not to forget the tramps on the Yorkshire moors with his sister Doris and her husband Trevor.
In 1986 Colin joined the Derby Probus Club and was Chairman of the group in 2006. He continued his monthly luncheon meetings until very recently eventually joining the Ilkeston group which was closer to the bungalow.
He was a governor of West Notts College for 21 years from 1978 to 1994, only retiring when reached the age of 70. He spent many hours here enjoying the opportunity of seeing youngsters learn and gain their new opportunities.
He was a member of the Design Council and served on the selection committee for 'production selection sponsorship' and on the Bursary Board for allocating travel grants to the RSA.
He was a member of Wylde Green Congregational Church in his early years, then when he moved to Derbyshire joined the Central United Reformed Church in Derby, where was a leader in the junior church and also an elder. When he moved to West Hallam he found it was easier for him to attend the West Hallam Methodist Church although he continued to keep his close links with Central URC.
Colin used to act the 'giddy goat' all his life and as a young man was a member of the Britwell Players at Wylde Green Congregational Church. He played many roles and was active in producing the scenery for productions. When he came to Derby he was able to become involved with Central Operatic Scoiety. Colin loved music, not as a singer but to listen to. His invlovelemnt with this group gave him great pleasure and he became a lifetime patron having also been their president at one time.
He and Mavis moved to West Hallam in 2013, moving to a smaller property on one level, where he continued to live. Mavis died in 2016 but Colin continued to enjoy his several pursuits until 2018 when he began to struggle with his health. In November 2018 Colin's health became a real concern and the medics suggested he should go to live where he could have nursing care to ensure his needs were fully covered. So he moved to Bankwood on Duffield Bank.....he'd moved full circle, back to Duffield but on the other side of the river, living amongst the footpaths that he and Mavis had walked so many times.
His family grew of course as time passed with his daughters marrying have children of their own and then these children marrying and having their children. Colin loved to be surrounded by the youngsters, encouraging them to successes, helping with school and university projects, being daft in the park when he should have known better!
Colin had two sisters, Margaret and Doris, who in turn had their own families. Get togethers always meant lots of noise, crowded dinner tables but lots of fun. A walk over Black Rocks after lunch with Doris, his brother-in-law Trevor and all the children and grandchildren plus the dog usually followed. His cousin Pete and family also adding to the crowd. Can't forget his great friends Edwin and Brenda Spendlove and their family....yes these get togethers grew and grew and were great fun. He loved to meet up with Mavis's nephew Keith and his wife Janet, travelling to their home in Llangollen or meeting up at the caravan in Tywyn, and of course Ruth, Mavis's half sister and her family, although not seen so regularly once she moved to the south, never forgotten.
Apart from his work colleagues, people he greatly respected and talked about often, we must remember Cynthia, Arthur and Dorothy - his neighbours from Park Road who were also great friends. You were in his thoughts to the end! Also Ken and Cath Hume and their family; not forgetting the Woollard and Harris families. He loved to sit with a photo album on his knee reminiscing over photos of friends and events.
Colin died on 13 January 2019 leaving behind two daughters, sons in law, four grandchildren and their spouses and eight great grandchildren.