Tom Bell was born in London in 1949. His family were active Communists and Tom joined the Young Communist League (YCL) at the age of fourteen. At fifteen he became an appretice electician. In 1970, when he was twenty, Tom was recruited by the African National Congress ( ANC) to undertake an undercover mission with his brother Ron in Capetown, South Africa. He became the General Secretary of the YCL and he returned to the buildingbtrade as a "spark". However he fell foul of the notorious building trade blacklist and work dreied up. He then managed to find work in television lighting and ended up employed as a full time official for the Uk media union BECTU ( The Broadcasting, Entertainment , Cinematograph and Theatre Union ) Tom was with BECTU as a superviory official for twenty two years until he retired in 2017.