Thomas Anthony Howard (also known as Thomas Howard Jnr) travelled to Hillsborough by coach with his father, Thomas Howard Snr, who also died in the tragedy. Young Tommy loved Karate and was 'so happy' when presented with his first Karate suit. He wanted to be an electrician when he grew up, but most of all he wanted to be like his dad and loved it when they went to watch Liverpool together.
At the inquests, his mother Linda Howard recalled how on the morning of the disaster, "My Tommy, true to form, turned and gave me his final loving wave."
Thomas Anthony Howard was my first born, with blond hair and curls, although he lost these as a toddler, but was still fair haired. He was so happy and full of life. I remember him as a toddler. He would get my pots and pans out of the cupboard to play with like drums and he made me laugh. He thought this a great game.
I remember his first steps when he learned to walk and he looked so proud, with a real sense of achievement in his eyes. He had a real sense of himself. He loved to come shopping with me as a baby and all the shopkeepers would remark on his blond curls and made a real fuss of him, his little face smiling all the while.
His first day at school he was so excited. He couldn't contain his joy and was jumping up and down with excitement when he entered the classroom, dispelling all my worries about him being afraid - I think it was I who was suffering anxiety needlessly. He made lots of friends at school and was popular and it was lovely to see him blossoming and enjoying life. He was always out and about once his school friends were established.
He also had his hobbies. He took karate lessons and was so happy when he was presented with his karate suit. He would demonstrate the moves to the family after lessons and such was his enthusiasm, we all wanted to learn.
He had his photo taken with a karate expert at Butlins holiday camp he thought was 'ace'. On other occasions he would attend the local youth club with his little school friends and in his short life managed to catch the attention of a few girlfriends.
He took an interest in birds: his favourite being, as he called it, Robin Redbreast. He knew the names of many other birds and would describe their traits to me and share his enthusiasm. You couldn't help being drawn in and sharing his interest. He thought them so special he wanted to share them with you.
As well as his karate, he took a keen interest in fitness and was looking forward to taking up jogging in the summer holidays when he learned that the school had made a running track just behind our garden.
His dad, who was tall at 6' 3", was someone to look up to for the children, in more ways than one. Like-father, like-son, Tommy hoped he would grow up to be tall just like his dad. He often asked me, "Mum, am I tall like my dad?" He always wanted to be like his dad and he loved it when they went to the match together. He had goals and wanted to be an electrician.
Of course, Hillsborough was an away match and Tommy pestered his dad to let him come with him and was so excited when his wish was granted. I, myself, did not want him to go as it was an away match and far from home, but his dad insisted, "He'll be all right. He'll be with me", and Tommy was so excited; I knew it would break his heart if I put my foot down, so reluctantly I let him go, but I wasn't happy about it.
It was in the February when he turned 14, and a few weeks before he went to the match at Hillsborough, that he came to me and said, "Mum, I've got a spot on my chin". It was just a pin prick, so tiny you could hardly see it.
"What does it mean, mum?", he asked. I said, "Tommy, you're 14 now - a teenager - and it means you are turning into a man". He liked the idea of that and, after all, it was the truth. Tragically, he never got to turn into a man. He died on April 15, 1989.
I remember everything that took place that morning he left for the match. Just as he was going out the door he said to me, "Well, go on then, mum; say what you always say." So I did. I said, "Well, I won't say I hope they win, because they always do anyway", and he laughed. I watched from the kitchen window as he walked up the path opposite the house and he turned and waved.
I waved back. He looked so happy and I thought to myself, will he give me one last wave? I felt my heart would break if he didn't. I don't know why I felt that way, but my Tommy, true to form, turned and gave me his final loving wave. I didn't know that would be the last time I would see him.
Afterwards, the school brought all his possessions to the house: his exercise books and things he made in woodwork, one of them being a boomerang. How ironic. I remember saying to the teacher, "But Tommy never came back."
He was just a normal schoolboy who wanted to be just like his dad. He had everything going for him. He just wanted to go to the football match and see his team play.
Rest in Peace