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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 09:30 GMT
Tom accepts award in mother's memory
Tom Jones with his mother, Freda, and father Thomas
Tom Jones with his mother, Freda, and father Thomas
Heartbroken star Tom Jones has promised to dedicate his Brit award to his late mother.

The 62-year-old Welsh singing legend was devastated at the loss of Freda Woodward, who died in Los Angeles last week aged 88.

He said Freda would have wanted him to carry on

Cousin Val Davies

He has told friends and relatives he plans to use this week's star-studded Brits award ceremony - when he accepts an award for making outstanding contribution to music - to pay tribute to her in front of a TV audience of millions.

But family members in his home town of Treforest, south Wales, say he is worried he will be overcome with emotion when he tries to give the dedication speech.

They say he dreads being reduced to tears in the Oscar-style of actresses Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Cousin Val Davies said: "I've spoke to Tom and his sister Sheila about it. He was very upset but said he was going to carry on with his commitments to go to the Brit awards.

Tom Jones
Tom was devastated at his mother's death

"He said Freda would have wanted him to carry on.

"He said he wanted to dedicate his Brit award to Freda but was worried he would break down when saying it.

"Tom's a very emotional person and is devastated at Freda's death - they were very close. He doesn't want to break down in tears on stage in front of millions.

"I told him if he feels he can't say the words out loud he should just say it to her in his mind - but it would be lovely if he could manage it."

Mansion

Tom jetted back to the UK at the weekend. He will receive his award at the Brit awards on Thursday, when he is due to perform a medley of his greatest hits to end the show hosted by Davina McCall at London's Earl Court.

Mrs Woodward died at her Bel Air home where she lived with Tom's sister Sheila in a mansion bought for them by Tom.

When he heard the news he immediately cancelled a string of shows he was playing in Las Vegas.

His mother nursed him through a bout of the potentially-fatal lung disease TB when he was in his teens.

Davina McCall
Davina McCall hosts the ceremony

"Tom had tuberculosis when he was about 13 and was ill for about a year with it. He had a shadow on his lung," Mrs Davies said.

"He was confined to the house for quite a while. It wasn't serious all that time but he was weak for about a year.

"Freda nursed him through it - she was a very caring mother - and when he recovered he had changed beyond all recognition."

Devoted Tom fulfilled his mother's dying wish by burying her next to her husband Tommy at the Forest Lawns Memorial Park in California.

Comforting

The cemetery is the final resting place of showbiz legends Nat King Cole, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy.

Mrs Davies said Tom and his sister would be comforted by having Mrs Woodward buried there.

"Tom and Sheila will want Freda close to them so they can visit her grave and keep her near them," she said.

"But if they ever think of moving back to Wales they would bring her and Tommy's bodies back with them. They would never leave them out there."

Successful

Val - who is seven years older than Tom - described Mrs Woodward as a "lovely auntie".

And, she added: "Freda was lovely. She was a very vibrant, happy person. She enjoyed all Tom's success and loved to see him doing well.

"Auntie Freda and Uncle Tom were always round our house when they lived in Wales - we're a very close family.

"She was always laughing. Freda was absolutely everything to Tom and Sheila.

Proud mother

"People expect so much of Tom but he's only human. He's just as upset as anyone would be at losing their mother.

"But he knows Freda would have wanted him to collect his Brit and do her proud."

A spokeswoman for the Brits said: "A Brit is given to the person and it's their choice what they do with it. Tom can dedicate it to whoever he wants and say whatever he wishes in his speech.

"We would be more than happy if he chose to dedicate it to his mother."


More from south east Wales
See also:

21 Nov 02 | Entertainment
22 Oct 02 | Wales
30 Jun 02 | Wales
29 May 01 | Entertainment
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