Book Of Remembrances

Brian Hague - Holmes Chapel & District 41 Club

When Brian Hague, who has died aged 86, arrived with his family in Holmes Chapel in 1967 he was a newcomer among the growing population of what was then a relatively small community.

Brian, born in Ashton-under-Lyne, moved from Davyhulme in Greater Manchester into a newly built house in the village with his wife, Ann, and their children, Jane and David, and soon settled into a new lifestyle.

A tall figure with a prominent beard and a friendly greeting, Brian soon made friends among his neighbours and older villagers and it was not long before he became active in community life and took a leading role in local organisations.

He was, a friend recalled, a great talker with firm beliefs and views on many subjects and topics and had been an inspiration to others with words of comfort when they felt down. He would also encourage those promoting ideas that would be of help to the community or in their working lives.

The friend added: "Brian was a character and his wise counsel and wisdom at times will be a great loss to the community. He will be missed by those whose lives he touched in the more than 50 years as a resident, family man, friend and neighbour."

His arrival in Holmes Chapel happily coincided shortly afterwards with an expansion of the Round Table into the village prompted by Sandbach Round Table.

In this organisation of young family men he became the founder chairman of the newly-formed Holmes Chapel and District Round Table in 1970-71, the President in 1988-89 and when over 40 he continued to play an active role as a member and Chairman of the Round Table's 41 Club as well as a life member.

Sadly, lacking new blood as other organisations have suffered in recent years, the Round Table finally disbanded but the 41 Club continues to flourish with regular meetings of its former members and ex-Tablers newly arrived in the area.

In Round Table, Brian excelled in its social life and charity events, many inspired by his prompting, including an annual piano smashing competition in the Precinct and a sports day that drew families together in a carnival atmosphere.

In December he was never happier when playing the role of Father Christmas during a Round Table-organised festive sleigh run accompanied by carols and children waiting up to all hours in local villages eager to whisper their wishes for presents.

However, Round Table was only part of Brian's contribution to the community and alongside his activities with the organisation, he became the founding Chairman of the Hermitage Primary School PTA in the early 1970s and a parent governor at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School when it opened its doors in 1978.

He was also a past Chairman of Holmes Chapel Scouts Support Group and briefly a member of the Rotary Club in the village.

His wife Ann, from Macclesfield, said: "We originally planned to move to Knutsford but couldn't afford a house there so came to Holmes Chapel which certainly turned out for the best. Brian quickly became involved in the village and I suppose because it was so small then he was like 'Mr Holmes Chapel' at one time with the number of organisations he joined in one year."

In his younger days, Brian dabbled in hobbies like stamp collecting, but the sound of jazz was his greatest interest throughout his life from his teens when Manchester was the centre of the traditional jazz scene. Such was his passion for foot-stomping music that he even managed a jazz band and club with thousands of members in the city in the 1950s when in his late teens and early twenties.

Brian spent many happy years travelling around the world for work and with his family, including taking his grandchildren to Tenerife and Stegna in Rhodes. But it was inevitable on one of his most memorable trips to Florida and America's southern states that the main item on the itinerary was New Orleans to follow in the footsteps - as a lifelong fan - of Louis Armstrong, the greatest of jazz musicians.

After Ashton Grammar School, Brian continued his education in Chemistry at Manchester College of Science and Technology, now UMIST, and on graduation spent most of his working life with Shell Chemicals in the laboratories and climbing the ladder to management.

Eventually, he moved to work with the Government Industrial Training Boards for the Carpet and Cotton and Allied Textile Industries, but in 1982 he made a further move when he worked in Saudi Arabia for ARAMCO for five years. Returning to the UK, he spent the final years of his working life before retirement in 1998 as a self-employed training consultant spending much of his time overseas.

Obituary by John Williams