Earlier in the year, Tony “Hoops” Hooper retired.
At a dinner that was enjoyed by all, alumni took the opportunity to pay tribute to Tony‟s hard work, dedication, and sense of fun. Below are just a few quotes from those who had the pleasure of being taught by Tony, including the following sent all the way from the wilds of Borneo by James “Ray Mears” Burns.
"It was 19 years ago but I can still remember the time outside the staff room when Hoops asked me to be the captain of a brand new team ...Through sponsorship, we managed to get brand new shirts which actually fitted. But they did cause great confusion due to them having letters instead of numbers on the backs! These were useful though - in the team photo we spelt out BALDIE - somebody was not impressed! ...During the season, we played a dozen or so matches. Because it was a new team, Hoops set us up against challenging opponents not found on the usual WBS circuit...The final game of the season couldn't have been more fitting - an away fixture against Henley on Thames - Hoops' old team! The score: 0-0!...The creation of this new Under 16 team proved to be the right decision when, two years later the school's 1st XV won the Devon Cup, the first time and last time for many years. The majority of 1st XV team members were in this brand new Under-16 squad led by Hoops. I firmly believe Hoops played a most important role in creating one of the most successful rugby teams, from Under 12s all the way through to 1st XV, in the school‟s history. Cheers Hoop, thanks for standing firm with what you believed in.”
(James Burns (92-93) Under 16s Captain)
“A great evening for a great person! It was a good informal get together and a chance to catch up with some familiar faces. Memories of rugby triumphs came flooding back as the ales were consumed and particularly interesting was Tony's insight into WBS life during his time as a pupil. Wishing you all the best in retirement.”
"Your vision of the game was inspiring, giving it the feel of a beautiful and fluid ballet rather than a hard aggressive fight. Your passion and enthusiasm for the game was contagious and has rubbed off on all of us. I will always love the fun brawl of rugby for life, and for that I thank you. Enjoy your retirement and especially the World Cup this winter!"
(Simon James - member of the successful 1st XV team that grew out of the Under-16 squad created by Tony).