It’s with heavy hearts to sadly share with you the news that Roy Hewson passed away on 8 May 2019, ironically on the day a book written about him was launched.
Roy, known as “Mr Petone” due to his lifelong involvement in most organisations in Petone, was instrumental in the revitalisation of Jackson Street. Many families moved away from Petone after the Gear Meat factory closed in the 1980’s and Jackson Street suffered. Roy (former Deputy Mayor of Petone and Petone Councillor on the Lower Hutt City Council) knew Jackson Street was in serious need of help so he gathered support from businesses and Council to start the Jackson Street Programme in 1991. Roy continued weekly visits to the JSP office right up until the end of last year.
Another one of Roy’s initiatives, which was started in 1992 and continues to this day, is the “Walk the Champions” – bronze plaques laid on Jackson Street’s foothpaths honouring Petone sportspeople who have gone on to become national champions or represent NZ. Roy organised this event every year on behalf of the JSP. He “semi-retired” in 2016, when he passed the event back to the JSP staff to run.
Roy was also a huge help with any queries we had on Petone’s history – the saying in the JSP office was “if Roy doesn’t know about it then it’s not worth knowing!” We will miss his extraordinary local knowledge.
Roy’s life was celebrated during his funeral at the Petone Rugby Clubrooms on Tuesday, 14 May. As expected, a huge number of people attended.
Roy, your legacy will live on in Jackson Street and your beloved Village will continue without you, but we will miss you terribly. May you rest in peace