Born and raised in North Ayrshire, Tom was educated at Largs Academy and Ardrossan Academy. He graduated in 1969 from Glasgow University with a B.Sc. in Science/Mathematics and worked for British Steel in Lanarkshire and British Aluminium in Invergordon. He later entered the Teaching Profession and taught for some time in Glasgow before transferring to Largs Academy where, until a few years ago, he was Assistant Principal Teacher of Mathematics. He currently runs a holiday cottage business in Largs with his wife, Elisabethe.