Dinner with Tom Walker
By Bryan Weaver | 21/12/2017
Huw S Thomas writes:
Friends and rugby colleague of former Drover Tom Walker gathered together at Llandovery’s Church bank clubhouse on Friday (Dec 15) to raise funds in support of the 37 year old who is suffering from a brain and spinal tumour.
Tom, who had been a Carwyn James scholar at Llandovery College was in the Llandovery side that won the Welsh Cup in 2007 and played 164 games for the Drovers over a period of 9 years.
Many of his former team mates were in attendance at Church Bank to confirm their ongoing support for him, his wife Jackie and their two boys – Ollie (9) and Finlay (5) - at this difficult time.
It was the fourth of a number of fund raising events organised by friends and family over the past year following on from a 67 mile overnight charity walk, a 125 mile cycle ride and a Stradey Park Hotel dinner organised by Tom’s old second row partner and skipper Arwel Davies.
The dinner was the biggest ever to be held in the Llandovery clubhouse, testament to the popularity of their former 6’ 5”, 19 stone lock who has undergone two major operations and a course of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with a brain tumour some two years ago.
Foremost of those gathered together was a trio of well known names in the world of rugby, all of whom had played for the Drovers alongside Tom.
Full back Rhodri Gomer Davies who went on to play with Northampton Saints, 42 times capped Scarlets back row Dafydd Jones and former British Lion Andy Powell did a half hour question and answer spot, prompted by compere for the evening Rob Walters, another of Tom’s team mates in the 2007 Cup win over Cardiff.
Star of the evening was Powell who regaled a captive audience with his tales of life as a professional rugby player which saw him play for 10 different rugby union clubs and also play rugby league for Wigan Warriors. Stories ranged from his battles with big Springbok lock Bakkies Botha to an hilarious recount of his arrest for driving a golf buggy on the M4 a few hours after the Welsh team's last-minute victory over Scotland in a 2010 Six Nations match.
Drovers stalwart sponge man Joc Walters held an auction of rugby memorabilia which raised a four figure sum all to help make Tom’s home more adaptable now that he is confined to a wheelchair with the tumour now affecting both spinal chord and brain.
There in person at the dinner with his wife Jackie, Tom gave a heart-felt thanks to everyone for their wonderful support of both him and his family and voiced his determination to fight on to defy the odds.
Photo: Left to right Andy Powell, Tom Walker, Rhodri Gomer Davies, Dafydd Jones and Rob Walters at the Tom Walker Dinner held at Llandovery RFC on Friday December 15