|Dublin Taxi driver narrowly misses
winning £50,000 treasure
RTE - Treasure Island - Friday, August 7, 2001
Treasure Island reached its thrilling as Yvonne Cronin,
an IT manager who left her job to take part in the programme, is seen winning the £50,000 prize. Viewers were shocked as Yvonne got to the £50,000 treasure before Ballymun taxi driver Tom Barton, who had been hotly tipped as the winner of the show.
The contest had come down to a final four out of the original 16 contestants. Peter Finn from Saggart in Dublin and Faith Atkinson from Armagh both left the island in the final Elimination Day halfway through the final show. Yvonne and Tom were left to battle each other in the final
nail biting race to solve the impossibly obscure final clue which lead them to the £50,000 buried treasure.
Tom, who has admitted that his only motivation for taking part in the series was to win the money,
was gracious in defeat, offering to help Yvonne lift the heavy chest out of the hole.
Afterwards he said, "That's life, that's just the way it goes - I didn't win the money. Fair play to Yvonne - she got there first".
Tom Barton, the ex-army taxi driver from Ballymun has proven to be a popular figure with viewers, despite the constant friction he caused on the Red team. He
had quarreled with most of his Red team-mates, had stand-up screaming matches with Padraic Doorey and reduced Faith Atkinson to tears as she accused him of bullying. His only Red team allies were Ann Murphy and Carole Ross , the 21 year old estate agent from Templeogue, with whom he formed a loose alliance acting as her protector until her elimination.
Yvonne Cronin had become self-styled leader of the Blue team but had been less popular with viewers as she
had been seen making comments about her team mates behind their backs. She too
had been involved in raging arguments with team-mates Peter and Tom Tom, who
had accused her of playing to the camera and being two-faced.
Tom Barton is a 32 years old single taxi-driver from from Ballymun in Dublin.
He spent three years spent in the Army where he excelled in boxing and represented Ireland in the World Army Championships in Italy in 1995. He was given the nickname Bomber Barton by his friends at Ballymun Boxing Club, where he is a coach for age groups ranging from 11 years up to early twenties.
Another fitness enthusiast on the island, he teaches boxing at least three times a week and goes swimming at least twice a week. Tom is also an avid scuba diver and snowboarder. He started scuba-diving about 12 years ago. He is a member of the True Blues Diving Club and is a qualified open water diver. He started snowboarding three years ago, as he says, “We go to Canada every year for a couple of weeks snowboarding in Banff National Park there – it’s an annual thing now with me and my mate Paul Lynch.”
Tom says his motivation for taking part in Treasure Island was ‘being stuck in rush-hour traffic’. As he says, “When I saw it I had a vague idea it had something to do with a tropical island. It was only after I applied I realised there was a £50,000 prize, but with house prices the way they are in Dublin, I thought that would be a very nice amount to put off a house. The only reason I went onto that island was to win the £50,000 and to be first red-headed Irishman to ever get a tan!!”
When asked about his strengths and weaknesses, Tom rates his fitness, his confidence and his willingness to learn as his main strengths and ‘myself, myself and myself’ as his three weaknesses.
Friends describe him as “very fit, very helpful, very honest, very happy and very mad”. He says his ambition in life is to be happy and healthy