DEVOTED Graham Hewitt has spent his life working for the borough of Gosport.
And he has now been made an honorary freeman of the borough, the council’s highest honour, at a ceremony in the town hall.
Accompanied by his wife Juliette, Freeman Hewitt was given his scroll and robes in front of a packed council chamber and public gallery.
He spoke after the award at the meeting last Wednesday.
He thanked councillors for conferring the honour, saying it had come ‘out of the blue’ – a reference to both the socialist’s surprise and that a Tory-led council had awarded it.
Freeman Hewitt, of Beech Grove, Alverstoke, Gosport, said: ‘Many of you have been friends for so long.
‘To say thank you is totally inadequate, I find it extremely difficult to find the right words to say thank you for this very great honour, which you have given me.
‘I can honestly say that being given the honour was an even bigger surprise than my defeat at the general election.
‘It suddenly occurred to me there was a way I could say thank you, a phrase which really sums it all up.
‘For me, you giving me this honour, came totally out of the blue – in every sense.’
As reported, councillors voted on March 27 to confer the honour.
He was instrumental in saving the borough council when in 1972 and 1973 both Fareham and Portsmouth councils sought to incorporate the authority.
He is also a founder member of the Gosport Multiple Sclerosis Society
Mayor of Gosport, Cllr John Beavis said: ‘Over 50 years, Honorary Alderman Hewitt has served the residents of Gosport with distinction. He was a councillor for 16 years and became the youngest ever civic leader, elected mayor in 1974 at the age of 33, a position he held for two years.
‘He is a much-respected person and has dedicated a large part of his life to the residents of Gosport.
‘He has always been a very caring and totally committed person, with the finest community spirit.’
Councillors also voted to award round-the-world yachtsman Alex Thomson, of Gosport, the freedom, which will be awarded this year.