Anti-bullying call by business and rugby leader

Posted by pt91 at Feb 02, 2018 12:56 PM |
Peter Tom recounts how he was ‘incredibly bullied’ and speaks of his dyslexia during honorary degree speech at University of Leicester

Issued by University of Leicester on 2 February 2018

Images of Peter Tom receiving his honorary degree here:

A powerful and emotional speech of achievement against many odds –including bullying  - was delivered at the University of Leicester degree congregation by Peter Tom executive chairman of Breedon Group plc and chairman of Leicester Tigers.

Receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, Peter spoke of his dyslexia – and said that many people who were dyslexic at his time had limited options and had ‘a chip on their shoulder’.

He added he had ‘no idea’ how he had achieved what he had, adding: “Leicestershire is one of the economic powerhouses of the UK, with some of the country’s most energetic and flourishing businesses and an outstanding commercial infrastructure.  It has also produced some of Britain’s greatest competitive sports people.

“I have been proud to be part of this fantastic community for more than 70 years and during that time it has been my privilege to lead not only two of its most successful companies, but also one of its greatest sporting teams.

“So, on behalf of all the exceptional people I have worked with – and played with – over the years, I am delighted and honoured to accept this honour.”

Born in Cornwall, Peter came to Leicester in 1956 as a school leaver to work in the Leicestershire company, Bardon Hill Quarries Ltd. Peter moved through the ranks at the Bardon Group, becoming Managing Director in 1977 and Chief Executive in 1985.

Peter and colleague, Simon Vivian, went on to acquire the failing Breedon Holdings Limited. Breedon Group, as it is known today, is now the largest independent construction materials company in the UK. It operates the country’s largest cement plant and two cement import terminals. It has 60 quarries, 26 asphalt plants, around 200 ready mixed concrete and mortar facilities and three concrete block plants. Breedon employs 2,300 nationwide.

During the 1960s, Peter made 130 appearances for Leicester Tigers as a lock forward and also represented Leicestershire and the Midland Counties. Playing for the Tigers in the ’60s was a very different experience to the game of rugby as it is played today.

In recognition of his outstanding work in sport and in business Peter Tom was awarded the CBE in 2006.

Peter lives in Guernsey with his wife Kay, and has 4 children Saffron, Layla, Joseph & Georgia, and 4 grandchildren Clover, Poppy, Archie & Ned.

He paid special tribute to City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby for his support: “We have had a huge amount of help from Sir Peter in terms of what we have been doing with the Tigers. He is a tremendous driver of some of the success taking place in Leicester at the moment.”

Offering advice to students he said: “I hate bullying- I was incredibly bullied for all sorts of reasons, and I hate bullying in the workplace.

“You will all experience bullying in different forms. If you see people being bullied, help them.”

He concluded:“We all live in strange political times- but we have earned the right to vote. So whenever there is opportunity to vote, please do so.”

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