Daniel Marc Hooper was born in Luton, (Bedfordshire). He became a nationally known figure in 1996 after spending a week in a complex series of tunnels dug in the path of a new extension to the A30 road in Fairmile, Devon, resisting attempts at eviction by police. Peter Faulding was called in as a confined space rescue specialist to safely remove Swampy and a number of other protesters locked on deep inside the network of manmade tunnels. Several people took part in the protest, but Swampy was the last one evicted. The magistrate passing sentence on him was David Cameron’s mother. Swampy was originally from Newbury, Berkshire, the site of the protest over the Newbury bypass, and he then lived with his parents in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire.
Hooper’s subsequent fame included an appearance on the BBC comedy current affairs quiz Have I Got News for You, on 18 April 1997, when he briefly became the show’s youngest ever panelist. In 1997, he took part in another tunnel protest intended to prevent the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport, and has also been involved with the Trident nuclear submarine protest camp at Faslane, Scotland.
In 2006, Hooper was living with his girlfriend and their three children in a yurt, a dome-shaped tent in Tipi Valley, a remote New Age commune at Cwmdu near Llandeilo in West Wales. In 2007 the Sunday Mirror newspaper reported that he was taking part in the climate change protests at Heathrow Airport. Hooper’s presence on the protesters’ site was dependent on his keeping a low profile, so his celebrity status would not detract from the protest. As of 2013, he was still living in a commune in Wales with his family, working for the Forestry Commission and running marathons and half marathons.
In September 2019 Hooper took part in an Extinction Rebellion protest, attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero Energy fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire. He was arrested at Jones Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire in October 2020, having occupied a treehouse to prevent trees being chopped down since they are on the route of High Speed 2.