[This article is based on material sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, May 2020.]
John Hollister was born in Wokingham in 1947, the eldest son of Frederick Hollister and Kathleen Dempster who married locally in Newbury. John had four siblings: Joan, Valerie, Paul and Diana. His father Fred was a local man who was born in Hungerford and at the time of the outbreak of WW2 was working on a farm at Upper Denford. Research suggests there have been Hollisters in Hungerford since at least the late 1770s.
My family moved to Hungerford in June 1961 where we lived in Coldharbour Road next door to John’s family. The Hollister family were some of the earliest residents in Coldharbour Road and took up residency there in 1958. John and his brother Paul were virtually the first Hungerfordian teenagers I met. We would hang about the “rec” in those early days, playing football and cricket and secretly smoking in the park shed!
When John left school around 1963, he went to work for local building firm Gibbs and Son and remained there until 1988 when he was made redundant due to the economic recession.
He then started his own business carrying out building maintenance and a range of handyman services until around 1995 when his chronic arthritis brought about his retirement.
John was very much into sports and I (Jimmy Whittaker) played cricket with him for a couple of seasons in the mid-1960s and football in the Hungerford Minors with his brother Paul. John was quite a tall, gangly boy and so it was no surprise that he became a goalkeeper. By the early 1970s, John had matured as a player and eventually ended playing in goal for Hungerford’s first team. Such was his love of football that after his retirement as a player around 1979, he co-managed Hungerford Reserves with Colin Moyle. His managerial career continued for a short time when he became the joint manager at Lambourn Football Club. On his return from Lambourn FC in the 1980s, he joined Hungerford Town’s committee and towards the end of the 1980s, became Match Secretary. In1989 whilst he was Match Secretary, Hungerford Town reached the semi-final of the FA Vase. In addition, John served on the Hungerford Cricket Club committee for a number of years.
Hungerford Tuesday Club:
It was hardly surprising that with his managerial and secretarial skills together with organisation ability, he was to become a leading light in the Hungerford community, in the Tuesday Club. This was formed in 1996 with the aim of providing monthly meetings and support for local people with disabilities or difficulties.
In addition to the monthly meetings (now held in the Corn Exchange), there are about a dozen Sunday outings each year and a Summer Holiday.
On 22 Feb 2011 John gave a presentation to the Rotary Club of Hungerford describing the history of The Tuesday Club (qv).
John was awarded the Mayor's Award by Chris Jennings in 2001 and in 2007 was nominated for the Queen’s Award for Service to the Community. In 2013, he was awarded the Freedom of the Town. This award is intended to promote good citizenship by recognising as role models those Hungerfordians who by their actions and demeanour have demonstrated exceptionally loyal service to the benefit of the town, and John certainly earned its respect.
Sadly, after several years of ill-heath, John died in May 2020, aged 73.
- John Hollister's Freedom of the Town award, 2013 (Kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker).