St Marys Church will host an event that promises to be both enlightening and entertaining. The spotlight will be on none other than Ross-on-Wye’s very own business magnate, Tom Vaughan.

Tom Vaughan, a name synonymous with success and innovation, is not just a business tycoon but also an accomplished author.

He co-founded the renowned chain of Juliana’s Discotheques in the 1960s. This venture, started with a £200 loan from the National Provincial Bank in Ross, and used it to build the world’s largest entertainment group of its kind during its heyday.

The bank, which once stood where Coffee #1 now welcomes customers, saw potential in Tom’s vision. The bank’s then-manager, Mr Barker, whom Tom fondly recalls as bearing a striking resemblance to Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army, took a leap of faith in 1966. This faith was not misplaced. By 1989, the company was acquired by Wembley PLC for a staggering £30 million.

But Tom’s journey didn’t stop there. He channelled his experiences, both highs and lows, into writing. His latest offering, “Hope... and the Hedgehog”, delves deep into the meaning of life. While the title might suggest a tale about hedgehogs, the book is an introspective exploration of faith, sidestepping religious dogma while acknowledging the influence of world religions on society. It’s a philosophy for life, encapsulated in pages, urging readers to confront a topic many shy away from.

Last year, the Gazette highlighted Tom’s literary journey, underscoring his ability to translate life lessons into compelling narratives. His earlier works include “No Ordinary Experience”, a candid corporate biography penned in 1986 that detailed the roller-coaster ride of establishing and managing Juliana’s on a global scale. In 2014, Tom ventured into fiction, releasing “The Other Side of Loss”, which briefly graced Amazon’s best-seller list.

For those eager to hear from the man himself, Tom’s talk at St Marys Church will encompass his book, his illustrious background, and intriguing local anecdotes. Tickets, priced at £8, can be procured from Rossiter Books or at the door on the event day. Those interested in more details can reach out to [email protected].

The evening is not just about celebrating Tom’s achievements. It’s also a charitable endeavour, with proceeds supporting The Friends of St Marys Ross on Wye. It’s a testament to Tom’s commitment to his roots, having always prioritised local businesses during his entrepreneurial journey.