Tom was born on 12 July 1872 in Co Caven, Ireland and after serving in the British Army in the Hospital Corps he came, via Canada to New Zealand. He joined the Duke of Cambridge Lodge 25 July 1911 when he was a labourer at the Cambridge gas works.
During World War One he did ambulance work in the King George V Hospital in Rotorua, having been a St John member for most of his life. Soon after the family returned to England where his wife and three children died in the Influenza Epidemic.
Tom returned to New Zealand and settled again in Cambridge, becoming sexton of the Cambridge Cemetery at Hautapu.
His obituary in the Waikato Independent 3 May 1928 also states:
Friendly Society work was one of his chief hobbies. He was an Oddfellow of many years standing and was Past Grand of the Loyal Duke of Cambridge Lodge [1916 & 1921], also a member of the local Orange Lodge.
Although there was a plot reserved in 1914 in Thomas Vane’s name at the Cambridge Cemetery at Hautapu, and the newspaper reported he was to be buried in the place he tended so carefully, the Brothers of the M U Oddfellows Lodge erected a headstone for Thomas at the Leamington Cemetery!
I was baby sitting The Duke recently so ‘walkies’ were part of the deal. We hit the dog park on the Green Belt early and the only other person was my neighbour – and dog Rusty. You wouldn’t read about it!
We do a couple of laps around the park then (The Duke on his lead) we head through the Leamington Cemetery, (The Duke off his lead) down the steep steps to the stream. He loves the water, the smells, the trails, the freedom.
We walked along the track in the farmer’s paddock and noticed to the right a steep hill. On top of this hill is the remains of a defensive ditch used by Maori in pre European times. The high triangle of land was possibly used as a lookout as (without trees) the line of sight would cover the Waikato River (east and west) and over to the Maungakawa and Maungatautari hills.
This site is listed with the New Zealand Archaeological Association.
Then a splash and The Duke was down the bank, in the stream, having the time of his life racing against the flow.