In Memoriam: Hamilton Thomas 1937-2015

Written by Ian Tempest on 16 Sept 2015

The Hammer Circle, the UK’s association of hammer throwers, coaches and supporters, has been in existence since 1952.  We are delighted to pay tribute to Hamilton Thomas, a member of the Hammer Circle for more than fifty years.

Hamilton, known as Barry Thomas when he was competing in the 1950s and 1960s, was an outstanding hammer thrower.  He first made the upper echelons of the British rankings in 1956, when still a junior and coached by Dennis Cullum, a legend in athletics, he got up to seventh in the UK in 1961 with a personal best throw of 52.75 metres, and was capped for Britain in an international match v Switzerland in that season.  He was close to the top of the UK rankings for ten years, 1956-1966, and later in life returned to athletics as a veteran athlete, winning numerous UK and international titles in hammer throw and weight throw.  He continued to compete as a veteran until 2014.

Hamilton became a member of the Hammer Circle in the 1950s and attended many of the annual Reunions until very recently.  He kept in touch with the Hammer Circle. He will be greatly missed.always kept in touch with the organisation. He will be greatly missed by the other members of the Hammer Circle, including Olympic athletes and coaches.

One aspect of hammer throwing influenced his private life!  Hamilton’s coach, Dennis Cullum became his stepfather in 1958 by marrying his mother Doris! Dennis, the founder of the Hammer Circle reunion, died in 1985.

Hamilton lived in Canada for many years, and returned to the UK in retirement, finally living in Lewes in Sussex since 2000 – Lewes Athletics Club was his final club.  He died on 2 May 2015 and is buried in the Cemetery in Lewes.