Born in Salop Street, Caerphilly, Tom was one of 14 children and at the age of 18 joined the army. While serving in the forces, he travelled to many different countries, most notably to Soviet Russia, an experience which led him to become a Communist.
After leaving the army Tom began work as a boxer in a fair before returning to Caerphilly. On his return, Tom worked down the mines until 1965 and eventually became the chairman of Caerphilly’s Workman’s Hall, a position he was very proud of and held for many years. During this period, Tom served on the Welsh Committee of the Communist Party.
In 1990, he was jailed alongside long-time Morning Star supporter, Councillor Ray Davies for refusal to pay the Poll Tax. While imprisoned he went on hunger strike. Cllr Davies recalled the time they were inmates, he said: "Tom was so brave; he stayed with the hunger strike, even though he was very weak after two weeks. He was such a tower of strength and the people of Caerphilly never knew what a fantastic jewel they had. He was wonderful.”
Tom could often be seen outside the local Tesco supermarket selling the Morning Star and over the years became a familiar fixture for Caerphilly shoppers. Tom Hopkins was celebrated in Caerphilly as a life-long campaigner and a committed Communist. He died aged 93 in 2005.
Source: The Campaign Series 10th Feb 2005