Monday, October 19, 2015

Obituary: W. T. Hopley (1968)

Hopley at the SPGB's 1905 Conference.
Obituary from the May 1968 issue of the Socialist Standard

We regret to record the death at the age of 87 of Wilfred T. Hopley, one of the two oldest members of the Party. His funeral was at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium on March 12th. Hopley joined the Party just after it was formed in 1904. He was one of the best humourist writers in the Party and was a regular contributor to the Socialist Standard for many years. In fact his last contribution appeared in 1954 in the bi-centenary issue of the Standard. He wrote over the initials "W.T.H."

He helped to form the original Paddington Branch and represented it for years as a delegate to Conference and Delegate Meetings. Later he moved to Watford Branch and performed the same services for that Branch until the outbreak of the 1914-18 War. In 1925, when Alex Anderson attended his last Conference, Hopley was Chairman. Anderson was dying, and knew it, and he went on addressing the delegates for a long time in a voice like a loud whisper: one or two members urged Hopley to ask Anderson to finish, but he said it was Anderson's last chance to speak to members and he was not going to stop him. Anderson died a few weeks after the Conference.

Some time after the last war Hopley and his wife moved to a little place in Kent, not far from Tonbridge, to be near a son who was ill in hospital. Unfortunately his son died and his wife died a few years later, leaving Hopley to live alone in his house for the last nine or ten years. The other son and family lived up in the Midlands but Hopley did not want to leave the Tonbridge area.

To the very end Hopley was as lively, humorous and interested in Party progress as ever.

The Party has lost one of its staunch and solid old timbers, and some of us have lost a cheerful, optimistic and grand old comrade and friend. To his son and family we send our sincere sympathy.
Gilmac. 


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