December 13 2013 Latest news:
Beth Wyatt, Reporter
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A beloved performing arts school founder was laid to rest in Romford last Thursday.
Hundreds of people turned out at the St Edward the Confessor Church in the market place to pay their respects to Jean Hewitt, 79, who died on August 17.
The founder of Hewitt Performing Arts, who lived in the Little Gaynes care home in Upminster. passed away in Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, after suffering from a stroke.
The funeral featured a number of tributes from the school’s teachers, including a performance of the Wicked song For Good by Michelle Pentecost, who is currently an understudy for main character Elphaba in the West End show.
Mrs Hewitt’s daughter Suzanne said: “The church was packed, some people were standing.
“The words of the song were very fitting, sort of like a tribute to what mum did in the community.
“Her contribution was massive and her legacy will carry on.
“It is second nature to everyone to teach as mum did.”
After the church service, a cremation took place at the South Essex Crematorium on Ockendon Road, Upminster.
A wake at the nearby Huntsman and Hounds pub followed.
Funeral attendees wore a dress code of red, black and white, to match the school’s colours.
At the pub they released a number of red balloons into the air, which had personal tributes to Mrs Hewitt written on them.
Hewitt Performing Arts, which is based at Drapers’ Academy in Harold Hill, was set up 41 years ago by Mrs Hewitt, who was previously a psychiatric nurse.
Suzanne, who has a brother Peter, added: “Mum made it really family-oriented, people join and stay forever.
“Some teachers came when they were two and are now in their 50s. It is lovely.”
Mrs Hewitt leaves behind four grandchildren.
A 41-year-old man has been stabbed at an address in Harold Hill.