Skip to content

Northumberland man who trained hunting dogs for royalty dies at 98

Jack Hope in a cowboy hat and bandana when he was invited to a costume party, but he had no costume!

John Richard Hope, known as Jack, passed away at Wansbeck Hospital on Monday, April 4. He was 98 years old.

Born at ‘The Snook’ on Holy Island on May 21, 1923, he and his siblings attended school on the island and traveled to and from lessons by donkey because it was too far to walk and proper roads had not yet been built. .

When World War II broke out, Jack was too young to enlist, but as soon as he turned 17 he joined the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

the bulletin i cuts the noise

Jack was passionate about the outdoors.

He was first posted to HMS Ganges in Ipswich before undergoing minesweeping training in the Firth of Forth. From the age of 19 he served on various minesweepers and his last posting was on HM BYMS 2049, where he was helmsman at the age of 21.

Jack was honored numerous times during his time at sea and won the following medals: the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the African Star, the Italian Star, the King’s Badge and the King George VI Medal.

He also received a silver badge which was established by Winston Churchill after the Prime Minister heard that there was no award for servicemen in the Royal Naval Patrol service.

After the war, Jack met his future wife, Monica Foreman, who was the daughter of a Lowick farmer and butcher. They married in 1947 and had three children: John, Michael, and Phyllida.

Jack Hope when he worked for Northumberland National Park.

Over the next several years, Jack held a variety of jobs. They included working as a part-time gamekeeper, tending livestock and poultry, including a pigsty, and also running a school car service.

It was Jack’s love of the countryside and all that is in it that led him to his next job as Keeper of Northumberland National Park, where he later became Chief Keeper after more staff were hired. He was in charge of 398 square miles.

Due to his hard work and dedication to Northumberland National Park, he was awarded a British Empire Medal in 1977.

His outstanding interest in and knowledge of botany and ornithology led him to become the Botanic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Registrar for Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. He also went on to lecture at Newcastle University, the Hancock Museum and many other groups and societies.

Jack Hope on Holy Island in May 2019, where he spent his childhood and visits every year on his birthday.

During his time in Northumberland National Park, he was leader of the mountain rescue team and on one occasion he and three colleagues had to climb Cheviot during a snow blizzard to locate a crashed light aircraft.

They had to carry the body to Langleeford through terrifying drifts and blizzards.

Jack also enjoyed many activities in the field, such as shooting and collecting with his Labradors. He was a professional hunting dog trainer, bred many field trial champions and even trained hunting dogs for the royal family. He also liked a few glasses of Famous Grouse after a day of filming.

After early retirement from Northumberland National Park, Jack didn’t want to rest, so he got involved in police cadet training. He was also an advisor to the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, continued to train him as a hunting dog and worked at Chillingham Castle on a project for Sir Humphrey Wakefield, where he supervised young delinquents.

Jack Hope (top right) served as a special agent and won the annual Specials contest three years in a row.

He also found time to be a special agent for a number of years and was part of the Northumberland team that won the Specials contest three years in a row.

He spent his childhood on Holy Island before moving to the Goswick waterfront, but lived for many years in Breamish Valley before settling in Wooler 12 years ago to be closer to family.

He was a familiar figure on the High Street and city footpaths as he liked to walk twice a day and moved to Summerhill Care Home in Alnwick 10 months ago.

Details of his funeral have yet to be finalized.

Jack Hope with three of his dogs on a hill near Brandon.
19-year-old Jack Hope in his naval uniform.
jack hope

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.