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News > OS News > OS Rugby Match 2021 dedicated in memory of OS Billy Hookway (HH,00-02)

OS Rugby Match 2021 dedicated in memory of OS Billy Hookway (HH,00-02)

Passionate sportsman and highly popular Old Stortfordian honoured by his family.
30 Nov 2021
Written by Jennifer Law
OS News

Excitement is building for the return of OS Rugby for the first time in two years on Sunday 12th December. For the very first time the match will be played in our new format of an Under 23 OS team facing an Over 23 team in the glorious surroundings of the Doggart, following on from a College Sixth Form ‘Leavers’ vs ‘Remainers match making for what promises to be an afternoon of top flight rugby.

Both OS teams are looking really strong so the countdown is on to see who will emerge victorious on the day!

All fixture information can be found here.

At the conclusion of the match it will be our great honour to present a brand new trophy, ‘The Billy Hookway Trophy’, for this brand new fixture to the victorious OS team. A trophy which has been generously donated by Wendy & Alan Hookway and Sarah Barrett (nee Hookway) (YH, 96-98) and dedicated in loving memory of their Son & Brother, Billy Hookway (HH,00-02) who sadly passed away in August 2020 at the age of just 36.

Billy was a key and hugely popular member of the legendary unbeaten College 1st XV Rugby team of 2001 and a very proud Husband and Father to four young Daughters. He formed strong and lasting friendships during his time at the College and was liked and respected by all. It is our great honour to dedicate the 2021 OS Rugby match in Billy’s memory.











We are trying to locate the named 2001 1st XV team photograph - if anyone has a copy we would be really grateful to receive a digital copy!

Billy’s obituary was kindly submitted by OS Tom Foulkes- Arnold (MJH,RPH,CH, 95-02) and will be published in the Spring 2022 edition of OS news but it is fitting for it to be shared in recognition of the strong  impact and influence Billy had on College life and the enduring friendships he made during his time on campus and beyond.

HOOKWAY – Billy A. Hookway (HH, 00-02) died on 25th August 2020.

Billy came to the College from St Mary’s in 2000 and joined Hayward House under Mike Tomkys. As a member of Bishop’s Stortford rugby club and with his sister Sarah at the College, he was already known socially by a number of our year group. Quite appropriately his first day was on top field at pre-season rugby training. He made an immediate impact and the friendships forged in those early days went from strength to strength in the years that followed. Although, from that day to this we’re yet to find a reliable witness to the prodigious speed that Billy regularly purported to have!

He was a big character from the outset with an unmistakable laugh and quickly became well known throughout the school. Though academically very capable it was on the sports field that Bill was in his element. Ever the sportsman, competition was in his DNA, whether it was golf, football or rugby Billy was a natural. He was a formidable backrower and a central member of the 1st XV for two seasons. These included the 2002 unbeaten season, Rugby World Team of the Month XV and touring South Africa. The optimism, honesty and determination he showed on the sports pitch became his defining characteristics. He had an appeal that bridged divides. A trait that was particularly useful when we played the Boy’s High School with both teams vying for an unbeaten season in the local derby. The game was the inaugural match at the new High School sports complex and the atmosphere was ‘competitive’. This was perhaps exacerbated by the High School boys successfully calling up the coach company to cancel our transport to the match. Thankfully we won and Billy was the first to extend a handshake and offer a beer to the opposition with a broad smile while congratulating them on a perfectly executed prank.

On leaving the College Billy bucked the trend of heading south within our friendship group and attended Sheffield University. Despite the cold it turned out to be the best decision he ever made for it was here that he met his wife Mariam. After graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in Accounting and Finance Billy completed 18 months at Ernst & Young. His initial induction programme is worthy of mention as it was in part conducted by Alistair Stewart, father of fellow alumnus Gordon Stewart (GH and RPH, 91-02). In a packed lecture hall Alistair spotted Billy and promptly recalled that the last time he had seen Billy he was running naked through Alistair’s garden pond during a party. As ice breakers go this surely has to be one of the very best.

Billy moved on to Barclays and launched a successful 9-year career working between Structured Finance and Private equity teams. Billy changed tack in 2014 joining the JKS restaurant group led by his previous colleague at Barclays, Jyotin Sethi, and his brother Karam. He became their Commercial Director and led Business Development during a period of phenomenal success which saw JKS expand to 15 brands with 8 restaurants gaining, and retaining, Michelin star recognition. In his spare time he even completely renovated three homes. He was someone who sought a challenge and thrived when getting things done.

After being diagnosed with liver disease in his early 20s one would forgive Billy for taking it easy or for focusing on himself for a bit. He did nothing of the sort and instead attacked life with renewed vigour. He took up cycling and ran the London Marathon raising large sums for charity. He became the ultimate designated driver and was never far from the party. Billy was a ‘people person’ in the truest sense. He made people comfortable in his company and he was committed to being honest and doing the right thing. His enthusiasm was infectious, as was his confidence.  That he achieved everything he did despite his illness is remarkable.

Billy was professionally incredibly capable and as such he enjoyed great success. However, it is not his professional achievements or sporting ability that defined the man, nor will they be his legacy. His greatest passion was also his greatest achievement, his family. As a father of four daughters he was always outnumbered but took it in his stride. His approach to life and the people around him is what marked him out as special. Regardless of his own challenges he made time to support encourage and champion those around him. He had boundless energy and optimism and worked hard to instil confidence in those around him.

As a young man he was the guy whose team you wanted to be on, and whose company you wanted to keep. In adult life he came to represent that most unique of things, someone you wanted to emulate. Unusually as a year group we have remained very tight knit for approaching 20 years. His loss has been felt deeply. An enduring sentiment that has echoed around our friendship group that seems apt to share in the current climate, when life is challenging or we are tempted by introspection, we would all benefit from being a little bit more like Billy.

Billy is survived by his wife Mariam, his four young girls, Zahra, Leila, Olivia and Eva, and also by his parents Alan and Wendy and sister, Sarah (YH, 96 – 98). We send them all our deepest sympathies and stand with them as a community in support.

Should anyone wish to make a donation in memory of Billy then supporting the AMMF The Cholangiocarcinoma Charity is encouraged.



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