Popular former mechanic and town councillor dies aged 88

Desmond "Des" Hewitt

Desmond "Des" Hewitt - Credit: SUPPLIED

A former mechanic and town councillor who was “many things to many people” has died aged 88. 

Desmond “Des” Hewitt, of Fakenham, spent his life working with cars before serving as a councillor in Fakenham. 

His early years were spent in Blakeney, on the north Norfolk coast, where he was born in a council house. He grew up there during the 1930s and 1940s and enjoyed the sea, the marshes and the landscape, which provided numerous opportunities for shooting and fishing.  

During his 20s, he would continue his passion for the two activities and would become a member of the Holt Sea and Freshwater Angling Club in 1957. 

During the 1950s, he completed his national service by training at Blandford, Dorset, before moving on to Oteley Park, Shropshire, and Catterick, Yorkshire. He would recall tales from this time, sharing the experiences he enjoyed with anyone who would listen. 

The family has a photograph of him in uniform at Blandford together with another serviceman called Johnny King. He would often share stories about giving lifts with the man who went on to become a footballer for Stoke City during the fifties. 

After this, he moved to Langham, then Holt, and finally to Fakenham.  

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His father worked in a garage, so it was unsurprising that Mr Hewitt followed in his footsteps and ended up working in a similar occupation. He worked at Edmondson Garage in the mid-Norfolk market and by the early 1960s had moved to Waterfield Avenue with his wife Joyce and their two children. He remained there for the rest of his life.  

After leaving Edmondson’s, he worked at various jobs before eventually working for a clothing manufacturer based on The Drift in the town. His final job was on the airbase at nearby RAF Sculthorpe, where he worked from 1983 until 1992. 

In 1987, he obtained a certificate of achievement for training in electronic fuel injection theory and diagnosis, which was awarded to him for his “pursuit in attaining the highest degree of professionalism through continuous technical service training”.  

His son, Robin Hewitt, described his working life as being a happy one. 

He said: “Dad’s working life seemed to have been spent in overalls, smeared in oil, keeping the gears and engines of cars, lorries, and machines running smoothly, and this was where he seemed to be happiest and was what he did the best.  

“In addition to his day job, he always seemed to be working on other people’s cars in the evenings.” 

Robin recalled memories of childhood including family holidays in a caravan in Derbyshire, Wales and Snettisham in Norfolk, as well as one tie spent at Butlins in Skegness.  

“We spent many days on the marshes along the coast at various places and especially at Stiffkey,” he added.  

From left, Fakenham mayor Philip Walker, Mike Gates cha

(Left to right) Pictured in 2000, Fakenham mayor Philip Walker, Mike Gates chairman of North Norfolk District Council, deputy mayor Roy Banham, councillors Des Hewitt and Brenda Coldrick at the town centre tree planting - Credit: ARCHANT

After retiring, Mr Hewitt devoted more time to the Labour party and served as a councillor from 1995 until 2003. He received enormous help from Mrs Hewitt, who organized the files and his diary. He served on the North Norfolk District Council as well as Fakenham Town Council, where he worked on various committees. 

During the 1970s, he enjoyed driving around Norfolk with his son, Robin, searching for various nature reserves and obscure historical sites, where he would feed the wildlife. He loved to watch snooker and darts and could discuss the merits or otherwise of Manchester United Football Club. 

For the last decade, Mr Hewitt enjoyed visiting his local pub for an occasional meal. 

Robin, on behalf of the family, added: “Dad was many things to many people. He could be funny, irascible, generous, and obstinate - and sometimes all of those in one single afternoon. 

“We were proud of you.” 

Mr Hewitt died following a short illness on September 17. He was a beloved husband of the late Joyce, dad to Robin and Martin, father-in-law of Sue, granddad of James and Danny, and great-granddad of Tallulah (Luby). 

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