‘Tom was the heart of Morecambe’s Melting Pot’
A leading figure in Morecambe’s music scene has died at the age of 58.
Tom Marshall, who set up the Morecambe Community Music Melting Pot Project, was diagnosed with cancer six weeks ago and died on Monday, March 1.
Friends of Tom Marshall have paid tribute to him following his death.
Melody Treasure said: “Many of us who knew Tom are going to miss him and I think our memories of him will hit us in unexpected ways because Tom has been a big part of our lives, in subtle almost gentle ways.
“I first met Tom when he was in rehab, nearly 17 years ago, he came to volunteer at our young persons drug support service XS.
“He was great with the young people and they appreciated his support and knowledge.
“The Battery pub was our after work place to be and Tom was so sweet, he always used to walk me home, even though I lived only round the corner and he lived the other end of town.
“Tom spent his first Christmas out of rehab at our family home. I’ve got funny memories about roast parsnips and him and I winning at trivial pursuits.
“After XS closed I went to work in Cumbria and didn’t see as much of Tom, but if I went into town I’d frequently find a note on my windscreen ‘hi Melody love Tom’ and when he got his getamoveon van I’d leave notes for him ‘Hi Tom love Melody’.
“Before Tom set up his removal business, he worked at Signpost and set up a dads group, it was really popular and had a lot of dads attending, who appreciated the support Tom offered them.
“When I returned to work in Morecambe one of the joys was to see more of Tom again. I was always happy to see Tom.
“Tom could be stubborn and argumentative, but he was also sensitive, kind, funny and really safe to be with. I’ll miss our bear hugs, every time we catch up. I considered him to be a very good friend.
“I have worked in drug, alcohol and recovery services for many years, and whilst many people may consider this to be a strange thing to say, I have always admired Toms ‘recovery’.
“Tom knew exactly where he didn’t want to go back to and he didn’t; and along the way he found his wonderful self.”
Jules Abraham said: “I first met Tom in 2015 at The Exchange Creative Community, a recently established arts project in the West End of Morecambe. T
“The Exchange was beginning to draw a multitude of artists, musicians, and creatives to its cafe and social premises on West Street – one of these was Tom.
“At that time he was in the process of setting up the Morecambe Community Music Melting Pot Project – a complicated description for a simple concept: to provide opportunities for anyone who was interested in music to socialise, jam and eventually perform in public.
“The meeting and jamming were fairly straightforward matters to arrange.
“However, in order to improve the chances of public performances, Tom set about creating a stage.
“This he constructed singlehandedly in his backyard in separate sections.
“The completed stage was then disassembled, transported to and reassembled in a variety of venues whenever it was required.
“Subsequently Tom extended the stage in order to accommodate the full membership of the Melting Pot in one large band.
“The first indoor appearance of the Melting Pot stage was on a rainy evening at Regent Park Bowling Club on September 9, 2016.
“It was a packed joyous affair, the night concluding with Tom leading everyone, audience included, in an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace.
“Over the next few years numerous inexperienced singers and musicians entertained at Melting Pot events and the confidence gained by these appearances led many of them to gig at places further afield.
“Music allowed Tom to shake off the frustrations of his day to day life, and lose himself in worlds of his own choosing and those who were lucky enough to be invited to a get-together at his flat had better bring an instrument or a song.
“Tom’s passion for music was as powerful as gravity.”
Local performer Luke Shaw said: “He helped me so much with giving me a voice and a platform to perform when I struggle with anxiety. Tom was a great man, he always saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”
Matt Panesh, director of Morecambe Fringe Festival, was Tom’s housemate for five years.
Matt said: “Tom was born in Scotland, moved to Manchester when he was very young and was a resident of Morecambe’s West End for the last 16 years.
“He had a dry sense of humour which would catch people unawares.
“Personally, having just come out of a relationship, there was no one better for me to spend lockdown and the plague year with.
“We were very much like the odd couple.
“Over the summer we sat at the picture frame playing our guitars cheering up the joggers, the breath of fresh-airers, all the prom folk as they took in their constitutionals. Joined by fellow musicians at a social distance.
“He could always be heard singing his own versions of classics, such as Morecambe Spaceman based on Bonzo’s Urban Spaceman, a love of Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. The ability to take a well known well loved song like that and make it your own mark’s you out as a talent in my eyes, and Tom did that.
“I miss his straight forward no nonsense dryly humoured approach to life and people.
“He could deflate any pomposity with a turn of phrase, and similarly use it to build up people’s confidence in their own abilities.
“The Melting Pot which he set up introduced a community to each other through the love of music creating several bands and partnerships such as Deccan Traps.
“His open door open access policy of music for all with no judgement allowed people of all abilities to share in the joy of song.
“It was the heart of the melting pot that made it a success. And that was Tom’s heart.
“Discussions are currently taking place about how to keep the legacy of the Melting Pot alive, ideas suggested include a music bank for people to be able to loan instruments.
“He leaves his mum, Nancy, his brother Dave, sister Tina, two nephews, five nieces, and a wealth of great nieces and nephews.”