Friday, 12 October 2012

Goodbye David Hooper

Photo Ben Ball
No apologies for postponing this weeks planned article to offer a brief tribute to a much loved climbing friend to so many, David Hooper. Like many people, I first came across Dave on the popular UK Climbing forum where his calm and measured postings contrasted markedly with my own more incendiary offerings which were quaranteed to set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons! Despite this, Dave became a cyber soul mate and comrade and I was delighted to finally meet up with him when he turned up at my gaff in North Wales with his lovely partner Liz and his legendary hound, Chewwie.

A long time resident of Liverpool, Dave had arrived in the city as a student- having spent his formative years in London-and remained in the city for the rest of his life. A keen climber and outdoorsman, he was a  well known and popular  figure amongst climbers in north Wales and nearly everyone, from the novices he instructed, to the leading lights in the field, inevitably encountered the strikingly dreadlocked old hippie and his equally hirsute hound, sooner or later on the Welsh crags.

Never a climbing star in the sense of technical achievment and new routing exploits, David found his true vocation and gained supreme satisfaction, teaching others to climb through his role as a self employed instructor.A role which opened up new international horizons to him.In climbing, he had a particular preference in later years, for winter climbing. Furthermore, his outdoor activity developed a new perspective in recent years when he gained a passionate interest in mountain biking. An interest that took him all over Wales and northern England. In particular,the popular Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre became something of a second home.

Apart from his south Liverpool abode, Dave and Liz had a unique second home-a converted ex army hut which had been beautifully restored- near Capel Curig in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. It became a welcoming haven for friends from far and wide who descended on the hut for a brew and for some lively banter. The last couple of years were  however,particularly painful for Dave and Liz. First beloved Chewwie died  two years ago at the same time as David was showing signs that the cancer he had defeated 12 years previously had returned. Alas, this time,despite fighting a hugely positive rearguard action,he finally succumbed to the disease earlier today.

Like many of those offering tributes across the internet today, I was lucky to know David in life although my only regret will be that he came into my life somewhat late in the day. His calm reflective personality and positivity could only enhance the lives of anyone who came into contact with him. He will be greatly missed by so many.

Equal to everybody else video featuring Dave Hooper