18-Nov-2017
  • MBE honour for Dr John Thomas for serving young people

    Meet Dr John Thomas who came to the UK in 1957 to study engineering and been honoured with MBE for his selfless service to the youths.Meet Dr John Thomas who came to the UK in 1957 to study engineering and been honoured with MBE for his selfless service to the youths.

    Dr John Thomas was awarded the MBE on 31 December 2005 for the voluntary services to young people. Dr John Thomas Retired fully in 2000 after 40 years of teaching service as Professor of Engineering from the University of Surrey. Dr John Thomas speaks to Balagopal in a brief interview.

    Q: We have understood that you were honoured with the award of MBE for your services to young people. Could you please shed some light on this?

    A: As a qualified badminton coach of the Badminton Association of England I was running adult education classes for badminton. In 1978 I was approached by the Guildford and District badminton league to take on the role of the badminton coaching for young people on behalf of the badminton league.

    I ran a coaching course as the chief coach for young people, on a voluntary basis, between the ages of 8 and 16 on Saturday mornings continuously for 21 years. Up to 80 children were involved on each of the mornings. This developed the skills of children and gave an alternative to assembling on the street corners.

    In 1978 I was appointed as the Vice-Chairman on the Board of Management of the YMCA Indian Student Hostel in London, which provided residential accommodation for students coming from India to UK for higher studies. In 1987 I have joined the Board of Trustees of the Woking YMCA and for some years taking on the responsibilities as the Treasurer and Chairman. During eight years between 1992 and 2000 I was the chairman of the South East Region of YMCAs. The region consisted of the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent. For all these contributions of well over 30 years the National Council of YMCAs of England had conferred on me the “Gold Order of Red Triangle”, the highest and most rare honour that is given for service with great distinction.

    Q: Could you please tell us about the awards ceremony. Who were all present during the occasion?

    A: The investiture was by Prince Charles on 26 May 2006 at Buckingham Palace. I was accompanied by my wife Molly Thomas, my son Roy Thomas and my daughter Dr Angeli Cox.

    Q: Where are you settled here and a brief about your family?

    A: From 1971 I am resident in Guildford, Surrey. My wife has retired after several years as a lecturer in Mathematics at Godalming Sixth Form College and enjoying leisure activities and some voluntary charitable work. My children were born and brought up in UK. My son is working in a leading investment bank as an IT specialist while his wife is a practicing dentist. They have a son Ronan and a daughter Rhia. My daughter works as an actuary in a leading financial institution and married to a University Professor. They have a young son James.

    Q: Where are you from Kerala and what were the circumstances leading you to settle in the UK?

    A: My hometown is Tiruvalla in Kerala. My house name is Parelpeedicail. I came to UK in 1957 to study engineering and in 1960 I obtained a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of London. After a few months of industrial training I obtained a small fellowship to pursue towards a PhD degree at what is now the University of Surrey as a research fellow. My intention was to return to India after the completion of the PhD degree.

    A year into my research I was offered a permanent post as academic staff at the university. Although I completed the PhD the permanent job as well as the opportunity to pursue my research interest, which was my hobby, kept me in UK and eventually reached a point of no return.

    In 1957 when I arrived in UK I was instrumental in starting a monthly church services according to Mar Thoma rites held at the Indian YMCA in London for Malayalees. Membership was very transient. We were dependent on priests passing through UK on their way to or returning from USA. I continued to conduct the service until 1970 whenever the priests were not available. Hence I am the only founding lay member of the Mar Thoma Church now in London. From 1970 onwards regular churches were established

    Q: To be successful in life what is that a immigrant needs to be aware of? Or what is the secret of your success?

    A: To be successful an immigrant had to be super efficient and productive as compared with those other compatriots. My success was due to the hard work and the long hours of the day I put into my research and using every opportunity available to learn and equip myself with new skills.

    Q: Please let us know what are the works or projects you are associated with at present.

    A: Voluntary work through the YMCA at Woking with young people advising and helping them. In the role of the Trustee and Vice President to encourage the staff in providing a much needed service to young people. As the Treasurer of the South East Region of YMCAs husbanding the funds to obtain the best value in its investment as well as the expenditure on the services provided to young people. I am also a trustee of a charitable organisation raising funds to give financial support to students from poor families in Kerala to undertake educational or vocational studies. Meet Dr John Thomas who came to the UK in 1957 to study engineering and been honoured with MBE for his selfless service to the youths.Meet Dr John Thomas who came to the UK in 1957 to study engineering and been honoured with MBE for his selfless service to the youths.

    Dr John Thomas was awarded the MBE on 31 December 2005 for the voluntary services to young people. Dr John Thomas Retired fully in 2000 after 40 years of teaching service as Professor of Engineering from the University of Surrey. Dr John Thomas speaks to Balagopal in a brief interview.

    Q: We have understood that you were honoured with the award of MBE for your services to young people. Could you please shed some light on this?

    A: As a qualified badminton coach of the Badminton Association of England I was running adult education classes for badminton. In 1978 I was approached by the Guildford and District badminton league to take on the role of the badminton coaching for young people on behalf of the badminton league.

    I ran a coaching course as the chief coach for young people, on a voluntary basis, between the ages of 8 and 16 on Saturday mornings continuously for 21 years. Up to 80 children were involved on each of the mornings. This developed the skills of children and gave an alternative to assembling on the street corners.

    In 1978 I was appointed as the Vice-Chairman on the Board of Management of the YMCA Indian Student Hostel in London, which provided residential accommodation for students coming from India to UK for higher studies. In 1987 I have joined the Board of Trustees of the Woking YMCA and for some years taking on the responsibilities as the Treasurer and Chairman. During eight years between 1992 and 2000 I was the chairman of the South East Region of YMCAs. The region consisted of the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent. For all these contributions of well over 30 years the National Council of YMCAs of England had conferred on me the “Gold Order of Red Triangle”, the highest and most rare honour that is given for service with great distinction.

    Q: Could you please tell us about the awards ceremony. Who were all present during the occasion?

    A: The investiture was by Prince Charles on 26 May 2006 at Buckingham Palace. I was accompanied by my wife Molly Thomas, my son Roy Thomas and my daughter Dr Angeli Cox.

    Q: Where are you settled here and a brief about your family?

    A: From 1971 I am resident in Guildford, Surrey. My wife has retired after several years as a lecturer in Mathematics at Godalming Sixth Form College and enjoying leisure activities and some voluntary charitable work. My children were born and brought up in UK. My son is working in a leading investment bank as an IT specialist while his wife is a practicing dentist. They have a son Ronan and a daughter Rhia. My daughter works as an actuary in a leading financial institution and married to a University Professor. They have a young son James.

    Q: Where are you from Kerala and what were the circumstances leading you to settle in the UK?

    A: My hometown is Tiruvalla in Kerala. My house name is Parelpeedicail. I came to UK in 1957 to study engineering and in 1960 I obtained a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of London. After a few months of industrial training I obtained a small fellowship to pursue towards a PhD degree at what is now the University of Surrey as a research fellow. My intention was to return to India after the completion of the PhD degree.

    A year into my research I was offered a permanent post as academic staff at the university. Although I completed the PhD the permanent job as well as the opportunity to pursue my research interest, which was my hobby, kept me in UK and eventually reached a point of no return.

    In 1957 when I arrived in UK I was instrumental in starting a monthly church services according to Mar Thoma rites held at the Indian YMCA in London for Malayalees. Membership was very transient. We were dependent on priests passing through UK on their way to or returning from USA. I continued to conduct the service until 1970 whenever the priests were not available. Hence I am the only founding lay member of the Mar Thoma Church now in London. From 1970 onwards regular churches were established

    Q: To be successful in life what is that a immigrant needs to be aware of? Or what is the secret of your success?

    A: To be successful an immigrant had to be super efficient and productive as compared with those other compatriots. My success was due to the hard work and the long hours of the day I put into my research and using every opportunity available to learn and equip myself with new skills.

    Q: Please let us know what are the works or projects you are associated with at present.

    A: Voluntary work through the YMCA at Woking with young people advising and helping them. In the role of the Trustee and Vice President to encourage the staff in providing a much needed service to young people. As the Treasurer of the South East Region of YMCAs husbanding the funds to obtain the best value in its investment as well as the expenditure on the services provided to young people. I am also a trustee of a charitable organisation raising funds to give financial support to students from poor families in Kerala to undertake educational or vocational studies.