Thomas William Hookey was the son of James and Harriett Hookey of Downton Farm. He became a farmer and blacksmith and was also a churchwarden. Tom was in the crew of the William Slaney Lewis when it rescued the Eider in 1892.

Tom married Ella Way and two of their children, Barbara and Dora, went on to be very successful teachers at Hulverstone School.

Jack Seely describes arriving at a wreck with Tom Seely:

We all shouted together, but could get no reply, so two of us had to go on board.  It had always been arranged that these two should be Tom Hookey, the blacksmith, and myself, because we were the lightest, and supposed to be the most agile.  

Tom was exactly the same age as myself, and we were lifelong and intimate friends.  We both jumped into the rigging as the ship rolled over towards us, and managed to get on board. Down below was a strange and melancholy sight.  Three lanterns were burning in the large fo’castle.  There was nearly three feet of water, and floating about were coats, shirts, trousers, oilskins, caps and tobacco pouches, but not a sign of human life.  

We clambered out, dodged a wave and managed to get down the afterhatch.  There the ship was more than half full of water, a light was still burning, but not a soul to be seen.  Above the crash of the breakers we heard a shout from the lifeboat, and ran to the side.  Tom jumped in first and I was about to follow when she swayed out about twenty yards from the side.  

I climbed up the rigging to escape a big wave which swept along the deck below me, then ran down again and as the boat sheered alongside, jumped.  She was only about six feet below me when I jumped, on the crest of a wave, but she sank into the trough almost as fast as I fell, so that I should guess that I must have fallen quite fifteen feet before I reached her.  I fell on an unfortunate man, and really hurt him quite badly.  Just at that moment the grapnel parted and we were swept away to leeward.  

All our oars on one side had been smashed to splinters, but we got enough spares to pull her a bit to the east.  Then we threw out the drogue over the stern, hoisted a jib and flew home before the wind at a wonderful speed. What had taken us two hours to accomplish on the way out took us twenty minutes on the return.  As we sailed home we bemoaned our melancholy fate in having no survivors to bring ashore, and vowed, amidst laughter, that on future occasions we would take a few with us.

Adventure, J E B Seely (1930)

At 56 years old, Tom died relatively young from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, and was ill for a while. He moved into his aunt’s home, Chine Villa, on Brook Green, ‘to get some peace and quiet’. His grandson, Paul Cutmore describes how Tom was referred to a specialist doctor - who later became King George VI’s  surgeon and in Adventure, Jack Seely goes on to say:  I have always thought that Tom Hookey’s untimely death some years afterwards was hastened by the hardships of that terrible night.

We hear that Tom had always wanted to go to sea and he joined the Royal Navy and served on the King of the Belgians’ yacht. His mother Harriet however, influenced him to return home to run the farm when his father died. Tom’s younger brother David ‘Daf’ Hookey succeeded Tom at the farm and smithy.