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Founder of the Trafalgar Day service turns 100

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

  • The 100th birthday of Canon Michael Hocking, the former vicar at Madron who revived the Trafalgar Day ceremony, was marked by a concert by the HMS Seahawk volunteer band in his honour.

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THE man who started the annual Trafalgar Day celebrations in Madron and played a key role in locating the chapel in West Cornwall Hospital celebrated his 100th birthday this week.

Canon Michael Hocking marked the milestone with friends and family at Ponsandane Care Home in Penzance on Monday.

During the day the HMS Seahawk volunteer band from RNAS Culdrose and Penzance mayor Phil Rendle paid the centenarian a visit.

Canon Hocking started the Trafalgar Day Service after moving to Madron in 1946.

He was inspired by the story of an elderly man whose grandfather had been present in the Assembly Rooms in Penzance when the news of victory was first announced.

Locating a wooden banner and, assuming that as the mother church of Penzance, Madron had held a memorial service, he started the event which is carried out every October.

Canon Hocking who went to Cambridge, then Wescott House, also lived in Bristol and Guildford before retiring in Penzance in 1977.

Despite retirement he continued to be very active and became chaplain at West Cornwall Hospital, where he got the chapel built in its current location.

Following the death of his wife Gill, he moved to Gracey Court near Exeter before moving to Ponsandane in 2008.

Speaking to The Cornishman, Canon Hocking said he had a wonderful day and was very grateful to everyone who came along.

Canon Hocking's daughter Clare Jacques, who celebrated the day with him and his two sons Nigel and Anthony, and many grandchildren, said: "I think he played a significant role in his time in Madron and also in the Church of England, we are all very proud."

And the secret to his long life?

"I think he would say his family, his fulfilling life and a drop of whisky to help things along," added Clare.

The Reverend John Robertshaw, who knows Canon Hocking through his time in the clergy, said he was an inspirational figure.

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