Beloved res­i­dent mov­ing on

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Laura Briggs

One chap­ter nears an end as an­other one be­gins for Tatura’s beloved Frank Hooper.

As a well-known com­mu­nity mem­ber who has spent most of his 88 years in Tatura, it is with mixed emo­tions that Mr Hooper says good­bye to the town as he looks to call Echuca Com­mu­nity for the Aged his new home.

‘‘I’m thrilled, but I’m also scared be­cause it’s some­thing dif­fer­ent you know,’’ Mr Hooper said.

‘‘It’s a big change, but I’m look­ing for­ward to it and hop­ing to God I’ll like it when I get there.’’

Al­though Mr Hooper plans to make his move in the near fu­ture, he will take with him decades of mem­o­ries.

Mr Hooper said one of his most sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments through­out his time in Tatura came about by ac­ci­dent.

‘‘I sup­pose my great­est achieve­ment came about by ac­ci­dent­more than any­thing else — I was cap­tain of the Fire Bri­gade for quite a few years,’’ he said.

He said a dis­tur­bance within the fire bri­gade oc­curred when he was just 21 years old that saw a ma­jor­ity of the older mem­bers leave the bri­gade.

‘‘And I was the fool that agreed to take the job on as cap­tain,’’ he said.

Be­sides be­ing the

bri- gade’s cap­tain for about eight years, Mr Hooper was a skilled ath­lete in a range of dif­fer­ent sports in­clud­ing golf, ten­nis, ta­ble ten­nis and foot­ball.

As a keen golfer at the time, Mr Hooper was one of few mem­bers who vol­un­teered his time in get­ting Tatura’s Hill Top Golf and Coun­try Club up and run­ning in 1965.

‘‘I used to go up there nearly ev­ery night af­ter work and weed the greens, get­ting them all ready to play on,’’ he said.

It was not too long af­ter Hill Top of­fi­cially opened be­fore he made the most of the fresh fair­ways and be­came the third per­son to get a hole-in-one on the course at age 36.

AlthoughMr Hooper, now 88, has passed his days of com­pet­ing in sports, he has been com­mit­ted to keep­ing fit with a walk each day.

Tatura res­i­dent and close friend Rod­ney Del­lar said he first crossed paths with Mr Hooper 10 years ago while both men were out on their morn­ing walk through Cussens Park.

Mr Del­lar said the pair ex­changed ‘‘G’days’’ for a num­ber of days be­fore he stopped to ask Mr Hooper’s name.

Af­ter some time he saw in the news­pa­per that Mr Hooper’s wife, Va­lerie, who had been suf­fer­ing from ill­ness had died.

Fol­low­ing the read Mr Del­lar paid a visit to Mr Hooper of­fer­ing his con­do­lences.

He said since that day the pair, who shared op­po­site in­ter­ests and opin­ions, have de­vel­oped a strong friend­ship that has seen them share in daily walks and on­go­ing ban­ter.

‘‘He’s one of those guys who’s down to earth and just really easy to get on with,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll miss our con­ver­sa­tions, our ban­ter and our walks.’’

Also among the many Tatura res­i­dents who have grown to know and love Mr Hooper is Tatura newsagent Maddi Rijs.

Ms Rijs said she also con­nected with Mr Hooper af­ter his wife died and he took on her weekly visit to the newsagency.

She said be­fore long the pair dis­cov­ered that Mr Hooper had been good friends with her Poppy (grand­fa­ther), play­ing ten­nis and golf to­gether, be­fore he died.

‘‘My Poppy had died, so Frank sort of took on a bit of a grand­fa­ther role.’’

Ms Rijs, be­ing heav­ily in­volved in sports her­self, said he had al­ways kept up with her sport­ing achieve­ments and cheered her on.

‘‘He was al­ways so sup­port­ive, en­cour­ag­ing and proud of ev­ery­thing I did in the com­mu­nity,’’ she said. ‘‘Just like a grand­fa­ther. ‘‘I am truly go­ing to miss see­ing him ev­ery week.

‘‘He is such a great friend to me.’’

Mr Hooper has been liv­ing in­de­pen­dently since the pass­ing of his wife five years ago and said that he felt now was the right time to have care avail­able for him.

He said with his four chil­dren spread out across the coun­try, he looked for­ward to see­ing more of his daugh­ter, Anne, who lived in Echuca.

‘‘Echuca seemed the best thing be­cause it’s close to my daugh­ter,’’ he said.

Mr Hooper said he would cer­tainly miss the friendly peo­ple of Tatura, but he hoped to meet some new friends who might join him in his daily walks.

An af­ter­noon tea will be held at Mr Hooper’s house on Sun­day, Novem­ber 11, from 2.30 pm.

Any com­mu­nity mem­bers who wish to at­tend and take part in send­ing Mr Hooper off are wel­come to at­tend.

Fond farewell: Tatura res­i­dent Frank Hooper says good­bye to his home town as he moves to Echuca to be close to his daugh­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.