Falkirk’s ‘taxi king’ Tom Fleming has died at the age 81.
Born in Hayfield, he attended Bainsford Primary and Graeme High before starting work with the Grange Foundry in Camelon as a payroll clerk.
After two years National Service with the Army Pay Corps in Edinburgh, Tom returned to ‘Civvie Street’ and used his dad’s car to start a taxi business. With contracts from the railway and NHS, it quickly grew and he recruited the help of his car-owning friends to help, launching Fleming Taxis from his dad’s house in Grahams Road in the mid 1950s. The company headquarters was later established next to the Colonial Bar on the other side of the road.
Tom changed the name to Express Taxis in 1985 - using ‘ET phone home’ to promote the business – and in 2003 bought local rivals Munro Taxis to expand the service.
Today the firm, now run by son-in-law James Buchanan as managing director and Tom’s daughter Belinda as financial director, has a fleet of over 140 cars operating across Falkirk district.
Tom Fleming met his wife, Christine, originally from Larkhall and a doctor at Falkirk Royal Infirmary, in 1962, while he was driving a taxi.
He was booked to take her to the Burgh Hospital, they got chatting and were married two years later, going on to raise a family of four girls, Susan, Gillian, Carol and Belinda.
A businessman who was always looking for new opportunities, locally he owned petrol stations, was boss of Brockville Motors, opened the first video store in Central Scotland and operated the first mobile video van, had a furniture store and was even involved in a jewellery business in Ayrshire run by Susan and her husband Brian Young.
Tom was a member of Glenbervie Golf Club, but usually used his ‘free’ time going out for dinner with Christine, entertaining at their home in Larbert or enjoying a night out with friends at the Maybury Casino in Edinburgh.
He died on January 9 after being admitted to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert suffering from a chest infection just before Christmas.
The funeral service was held in Larbert Old Parish Church before a burial service at Hills O’ Dunipace Cemetery.