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Poole Quay victim identified as "old charmer" Percy Toms
HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a true character of Poole Quay who passed away at the spot he loved so much.
Hundreds of people will remember listening to Percy Toms sing on the historic quayside, raising more than £11,000 for charity over the years.
Friends and family have spoken of their shock and sadness after the well-known figure was found in the waters of Poole Harbour on Tuesday.
Percy’s brother-in-law Alan Mizen, 64, said there was nothing he liked better than sitting looking out to sea. Mr Mizen said: “He loved his singing and loved talking to the people of Poole.
“Sadly he died near his one pet hates – the block of flats on the Quay.
“He thought it was a blot on the landscape.”
Percy was Poole “born and bred”. He was one of the first pupils at Henry Harbin School, now Poole High, before becoming an apprentice at Hamworthy Engineering.
He served in the army and then ran his own business, B and P Engineering, until his retirement.
Percy, of Canford Heath, leaves wife-of-44years Barbara and one daughter.
As well as singing, he had a passion for the history of Poole.
Mr Mizen said: “Percy will be sadly missed. He really got involved with people.
“He used to be lovely and bubbly. He was always one for talking – many people Poole people will have sat and chatted to Percy by the waterside.”
A Freemason, he was passionate about Poole’s history and the Titantic.
Mr Mizen said Percy loved the sea and was an active member of yacht clubs at Sandbanks and Cobbs Quay, until problems with his legs set in.
Widow Barbara Toms said poor health meant Percy had to stop his singing last year.
“The love of his life was going to Poole and singing,” she said.
“He got to the point where he couldn’t do that any more.
“The Quay was where he would always be happiest.”
Percy collected thousands of pounds for Poole Shopmobility, which loans out scooters, power-chairs and wheelchairs, with singing, talent shows and other events. He joined in 1994.
Ross Smith, general manager, said: “Percy was a great supporter and was awarded lifetime membership and also sat on our board of trustees for sometime.
“The tragic loss of Percy has come as a great shock to us all and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”
Bob Kerr, landlord at The Poole Arms pub, said: “Every summer Percy could be found outside singing to the customers for a few coppers in his charity tin. He was a bit of an old charmer and will be much missed.”
Mayor Graham Wilson said: “It’s a great shame to lose someone who has worked so unselfishly for various parts of the community. To lose Percy is just awful.
“We’re all aware of the efforts that he put in for charity.”
The town’s thoughts are with Percy’s loved ones, he added.