(Information kindly supplied by Charlie’s son, Richard Hewitt)
Charlie Hewitt was born on 11 May 1909 in Whatley, Langport. His father was a shoe repairer, and later a postman. Charlie went into the nursery trade on leaving school at the age of 14, in 1923. Apart from two years at Evesham, he worked for Kelways right up until he retired in 1974.
He took over responsibility for the firm’s displays at shows after the Second World War. He spent nearly half the year travelling to shows up and down the country and was well known to many horticulturists. His colourful displays often included 1000 blooms.
For many years he was the public face of the Company in that every summer he would front-up the Company's display stand at horticultural shows across the country. He took much delight in being awarded medals for the displays he created, and most importantly for taking lots of valuable orders from the public for Kelways products. He used to return home from these shows with stories of the VIPs that had visited the stand and chatted to him, notably members of the Royal Family who took a very keen interest in their gardens. I once had a photograph of my dad chatting to the Queen, presumably about horticultural matters, rather than comparing notes on the problems of raising of their respective sons !! Unfortunately that photo became lost many years ago. On rare occasions, as a young lad, I would go with my dad to these horticultural shows, 'help' with setting up, and enjoy the fun of selling off the blooms to the public at the end.
In 1972 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Long Service Medal for his 40 years’ service to Kelways. In the following year he was elected an Associate of Honour of the RHS ‘in recognition of his services to horticulture’. He died on March 11, 1981.
Several years ago, I re-visited the old Kelways building that had by then been converted into a pub, and saw amongst quite an accumulation of memorabilia on display there, some of the gold medal award cards that in all probability my dad had won for the company. It was a very special experience for me.