A unique memorial bench to Rosenallis man Tom O’Loughlin, featuring hurleys, sliothars and the GAA logo, has been unveiled in his adopted English city of Shrewsbury.
The English oak school bench, commissioned by Tom’s widow Lyndsey Pollard, has a prime view of the playing fields of Shrewsbury School in Shropshire, where she is Deputy Chair of Governors.
“This is the perfect resting place for Tom’s commemorative bench. His passionate love of all sport, especially hurling and Gaelic football, played such a big part of his life and I know he would love this prime position overseeing the sport here at the schools,” she said.
The bespoke carved bench was unveiled at a Celebration of Life service in Shrewsbury School Chapel on May 23, attended by many of Tom O’Loughlin’s family.
The Rosenallis native had touched thousands of hearts with his frank and personal facebook posts during his battle with cancer.
Tom O’Loughlin was deeply involved in GAA and farming throughout his life. He was a member of the Leinster Council of the GAA and of the GAA national health and safety committee. He was national organisation director of the IFA in the 1970s and 1980s.
After the death of his wife Geraldine in 2011, Tom moved to Shropshire in England, where he opened an Irish meat processing business.
Finding love again with lawyer Lyndsey Pollard, the couple married when it was clear that Tom’s battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was terminal.
They returned to Laois after their wedding on February 2, where Tom spent his final weeks in the company of family and friends, and reminiscing with sporting colleagues.
“Coming home was fabulous. I thought I wouldn’t make it home,” he told the Leinster Express at the time.
He passed away on February 27, laid to rest in SS Peter & Paul’s Cemetery, Portlaoise.