One of Padiham’s best known and respected sons has died at the age of 75 after a short illness.
Landlord Tom Large was the face of Molly Rigby’s, the club he established in Padiham 13 years ago.
The former Royal British Legion Club in Mill Street was a derelict shell when Tom bought it with his friend and business partner Brian Gamble.
The duo restored it to its former glory and it has become established as a popular pub and a hub of the community.
And Tom achieved his dream of naming the club after his mum who died when he was only 15.
Padiham born and bred Tom was a former pupil of St Matthew’s and St Leonard’s schools before going on to serve with the armed forces for 22 years.
A member of the Royal Signals he served with a number of infantry regiments, including the Royal Marines and saw service in Germany, Aden and three tours in Northern Ireland.
Originally trained as a painter and decorator. Tom entered the licensed trade in 1982 in a pub in North Yorkshire before taking over at the General Gordon pub in Nelson with his wife Vera.
The couple then spent three years in the holiday flats business in Blackpool before returning to their roots,
becoming mines hosts at the Rose and Crown in Burnley.
And even though he had lived all over the world, Tom’s heart belonged to Padiham and he bought the Britannia pub, known as The Brit.
Tom sold up in 2002 and took a break from the trade although he continued to do relief management at clubs and pubs before establishing Molly Rigby’s.
A great organiser and astute businessman who loved spending time with his customers, he commanded great respect in his role. Tom organised regular trips and outings from Molly Rigby’s and the club became the focal point for community groups and organisations.
Tom’s daughter Elizabeth said: “My dad loved his work, it was his passion, but he was also a great family man who was very kind and generous.
"I would like to thank the at home nurses from Pendleside Hospice who cared for my dad in the last weeks of his lif
Tom’s favourite tipple was gin and tonic, he was a wine buff and he loved cruises. He also leaves his wife, sons Robert and James and an extended family.
Tom’s funeral will be held on Friday, June 16th, at Burnley Crematorium at 2-20pm followed by a gathering at Molly Rigby’s and anyone who knew him is welcome to attend. It is family flowers only but donations can be made in Tom’s memory to Pendleside Hospice.