I would steal from my parents to buy weed

FORMAL education was never there for me – I didn’t have it for that personality type.

I liked practical things more, and this was not so much at school.


When Tom was diagnosed with cancer in August 2020, he began using cannabis as a therapeutic agent alongside more traditional treatments.Credit: INSTAGRAM/TOM PARKER
At 16, Tom auditioned for The X Factor but didn't get on the show.


At 16, Tom auditioned for The X Factor but didn’t get on the show.Credit: @tomparkerofficial
Tom Parker, pictured with son Bodhi and daughter Aurelia, spoke about his childhood in his autobiography.


Tom Parker, pictured with son Bodhi and daughter Aurelia, spoke about his childhood in his autobiography.Credit: @tomparkerofficial

I ended up only lasting six months studying geography at the Manchester Met before I flunked it.

After I got kicked out of university, my weed habit became a problem.

My parents, Noreen and Nigel, are quite liberal, but they couldn’t accept the person I was becoming, and we had a lot of arguments about my marijuana use.

In a couple of years, I went from casual smoking with friends to complete addiction.

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We would do almost anything to get up.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it eventually expanded to the point where I took things from my parents’ house and pawned them into Cash Converters – videos, jewelry, anything that could make me a few pounds.

That’s how much I lost control of myself.

The last straw was when someone sent Mom a birthday card through the door. I opened it and stole the crispy £10 notes that were folded inside.

My parents had to go to extreme lengths in the hope that I would learn to understand the pernicious path I was on—they kicked me out of our family home.

I ended up on the couch at my buddy Wayne’s house around the corner for the next few months. I continued this downward spiral – more weed, more booze – and did not see my parents, although they were only a couple of streets away from me.

When I graduated from St. Brendan’s Primary School in Harwood, Bolton, where I grew up, the priest said, “Tom is a good boy. Either he becomes a football player, or he ends up in Strangeways prison.”

All the parents at the alumni meeting gasped.

It was just a joke, but my mom was furious, and rightly so.

Unfortunately, I was well aware of the low expectations that others placed on me outside the home – they were inevitable. I just didn’t fit into society’s idea of ​​what a good kid is.

The secondary school, Thornley Salesian College, was a particularly difficult time. I still misbehaved.

As a child, I sang all the time – I liked it.

But in my freshman year, I started wanting to fit into a cool crowd. I started hiding parts of myself and stopped singing so much.

I learned the hard way that the key to a more fulfilling life is simply to be yourself.

I had to put up with a lot of shit to get accepted by the popular guys. It was not open mockery, but general intoxication.

There were a lot of name-calling because of my height.

I used to wear a parka, which is why I was nicknamed Saj after the kid in East is East.

I literally wasn’t called Tom the whole time I was in school.

The final straw was that in 11th grade, my backpack full of GCSE papers was stolen from me, and it took me a week to get it back.

By the time I found my notes on the dirty cricket field, none of them could be read.

I couldn’t hold back my tears when my mom found out.

My brother Lewis is five years older than me and was in fact the first musician in our family.

Lewis was the one who taught me my first guitar chords.

I learned how to play Wonderwall by Oasis.

This song started my interest in music.


At 16, I decided to audition for The X Factor.

I took the train to Manchester for an audition and joined a huge line of other applicants waiting on a rainy morning for their chance to shine in front of the judges.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t even get that far. At the time, I was devastated.

My only salvation was that they did not record my refusal. It was a big blow to my confidence and I stopped singing for about six months.

Another key moment that pushed me to a musical career was a karaoke competition at The Swan pub in Bolton.

The atmosphere was electrified after my performance of Elton John’s Don’t Let Kristen Bell Tattoos Go Down On Me.

I walked away with £1,000 – and used it to start growing weed!

The guy in the audience was a member of Take That II, a tribute band from Leeds.

They were looking for Mark Owen to complete their line-up and they saw some potential in me.

Joining this group gave me my first experience of singing in public as part of a group. It was pretty serious.

The guy who played Gary Barlow actually lived as Gary Barlow – it was kind of weird.

I think it was fate that made me discover in the summer of 2008 an advertisement for a site called Jayne Collins Casting.

They were looking for people to audition for a pop group.

I was on unemployment so I applied and the very next day me and one of my best friends, Ali, were driving to London in my Citroën Saxo filled with stolen gasoline for what I felt might be an opportunity. . d yearned.

In nine months, more than 1,000 people jumped at their chance to land a seat in an as-yet-unnamed pop group that Jane put together to form The Saturdays.

At a crucial point in the process, I asked my mom if I could get my birthday money early so I could take the train to London for my next audition, but she thought I would go to urinate, or the entire audition process was an elaborate scam.

She said if I’m loyal, I’ll take the bus. So I took the £1 megabus ride.

By that time we were narrowed down to 12 people, and after this audition, they chose the last five, of which I was a part.

I couldn’t believe it – all that work and believing in myself was paying off.

For a month, we were looking at real estate in London as a group.

I was definitely part of this new boy band that was about to start their journey to pop stardom.

Mom did not believe in all this until a few months later she had a copy of the first single The Wanted All Time Low in her hands.

As I sat smoking weed, I had no idea where I would be in less than a year.

When the charts were announced in October 2010, none of us expected to hear that we had reached #1.

I cried like a child. This is an achievement that no one can ever take away from us. The Wanted will forever remain the best recording artists in the UK.

Tom confessed that formal education was never for him


Tom confessed that formal education was never for himCredit: @tomparkerofficial
Tom admitted that he and Noreen's mom had a lot of arguments about his marijuana use.


Tom admitted that he and Noreen’s mom had a lot of arguments about his marijuana use.Credit: @tomparkerofficial
Tom said that he loved music as a child and sang all the time.


Tom said that he loved music as a child and sang all the time.Credit: Unknown, clearly with photo table.

ALTHOUGH cannabis almost ruined Tom’s life as a teenager, when he was diagnosed with cancer in August 2020, he began using it as a therapeutic agent along with more conventional therapies.

He explains:

The National Health Service offered me radiation therapy and chemotherapy, but nothing more.

I am a very inquisitive person by nature, so not content with the options that were offered to me, I gained access to additional therapies, including new experimental drugs and holistic therapies, all of which played an important role in my journey.

It was natural for Kelsey and me to explore alternative therapies.

Our moms are a little bit out of the box, and my mom really loves crystals and stuff, so it’s always been a part of our lives.

There is a whole world there, and we are often guilty only of taking what was accepted in the West.

During those first four or five months after I was diagnosed, I don’t think there was a doctor or practitioner in the world that I didn’t contact.

I have worked with cranial osteopaths, energy healers, Ayurvedic practitioners and homeopaths, just to name a few.

Few people who are diagnosed with glioblastoma reach a stable tumor after a year, as I did.

Despite all the problems it has caused in my life before, I sincerely give cannabis its due.

Nearly every doctor I spoke to on this journey mentioned that it might help.

It’s a way to get through the pain, especially early on.

I’ve had other doctors condemn my cannabis use even though it was the only thing that gave me any proper pain relief, like it was worse than the hard drugs they were giving me.

It’s very frustrating when you find a treatment you want to try and your oncologist is closed to him – a cure is only as good as the doctor works with that medicine.

I started taking a few drops of cannabis oil every night shortly after I was diagnosed.

It is THC (the primary high-inducing compound in cannabis) extracted from the cannabis bud, a highly concentrated, thick, tar-like oil.

When you take a drop you basically just pass out at first, then you have to build up your tolerance daily by taking a little bit every night just to keep going.

At the very least, I can say that it has definitely stimulated my appetite and is good for those undergoing cancer treatment.

Perhaps more importantly, it made me laugh at things.

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The laughter we had in our Wanted WhatsApp group with our manager Damo every night after I drank my cannabis oil was hilarious and really special.

I just hope the chat never gets out – it will give me a lot of trouble!

  • Tom died at the age of 33 on March 30 this year, leaving behind wife Kelsey, two-year-old daughter Aurelia and one-year-old son Bodhi.
  • Adapted by EMILIE FAIRBAIRN and DOUG WHITE from Tom Parker’s Hope: My Inspiring Life, published May 26 by Blink Publishing.
Tom with wife Kelsey and their daughter Aurelia, two years old, and son Bodhi, one year old


Tom with wife Kelsey and their daughter Aurelia, two years old, and son Bodhi, one year oldCredit: @tomparkerofficial
Tom's band The Wanted took first place with their first single All Time Low.


Tom’s band The Wanted took first place with their first single All Time Low1 credit
Hope: My Inspiring Life by Tom Parker comes out May 26.


Hope: My Inspiring Life by Tom Parker comes out May 26.Credit: Unknown, clearly with photo table.

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