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Rushden Echo & Argus, 24th February 1939, transcribed by Kay Collins
William Pettitt

"A man of many parts" is the aptest description of Mr. Wm. Pettitt, 5, Kings-avenue, Higham Ferrers, who died on Saturday at the Northampton General Hospital a few hours after the Rushden motor ambulance, in the charge of Mr. A. Prigmore, had gone to fetch him home.

Mr. Pettitt, who had been taken to the hospital a week before, suffering from an internal complaint, had been in ill-health for sometime. When the ambulance arrived on Saturday evening he was placed on a stretcher, but a relapse then occurred, and he was put back to bed.

Mr. Pettitt was born in Rushden on March 26, 1861, and would therefore have been 78 next month. He lived at Northampton for a short time before going with his family to Burham, Kent, where, as a boy, he witnessed the last public execution in this country—at Maidstone, in April, 1868.

After returning to Higham Ferrers, Mr. Pettitt commenced work in a boot factory at nine years of age for nine-pence a week, being employed by Mr. Henry Sanders. Later he was employed by Mr. Charles Parker from 1877 and completed 53 years as a clicker for the firm with only three months’ illness in the whole period. He was married to Miss Annie Simmons, of Wellingborough, at the Wellingborough registry Office in 1880, when both he and his bride were 19 years of age.

William Pettitt
William Pettitt
A member of the Higham Ferrers Fire Brigade for thirty years, Mr. Pettitt possessed a long service medal with two bars. During that period he assisted in fighting many fires in the neighbourhood.

Interested in campanology, Mr. Pettitt was one of the parish bellringers at St. Mary’s Church for twenty years, also serving as sidesman.

One of his most interesting and picturesque duties was in the office of Mayor’s Sergeant, which he held from 1918 to 1923, serving under four Mayors, the late Alderman Thomas Patenall, the late Mr. W. W. Chamberlain, Alderman Frank Walker and Mr. E. H. Horrell.

For twelve years he was a member of the Higham Ferrers St. John Ambulance Division, and for some time he was engaged by the Town Council to look after the trees in the Market Square and other parts of the town. An old member of the Loyal Earl Fitzwilliam Lodge of Oddfellows, he had occupied the various chairs. He was also a staunch trade unionist, and Co-operator, and for the last six years was a Chichele Bedesman.

Mrs Pettitt survives, and there are three sons and five daughters—Mr. William Arthur Pettitt (Rushden), Mr. Frederick Thomas Pettitt, Mr. Albert Pettitt, Mrs. E. Britchford, Mrs. E. Cumberpatch (Rushden), Mrs. E. Bailey (Irthingborough), Mrs. L. C. Clifton (Woodford) and Miss Louisa Pettitt.

At the funeral on Wednesday afternoon two members of the Higham Ferrers Fire Brigade, Chief Officer W. Webb and Fireman E. Jeffs (in uniform), accompanied by old comrades of the brigade— Messrs. A. Sudborough, A. Martin, F. Twelvetree, A. Lambert, J. E. Smith and O. Jennings—marched beside the hearse.

A service at the Parish Church was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. Phillip Kirk, and among those present were the Deputy Mayor, Ald. J. W. Barker, Ald. F. Walker, J.P., Councillor R. W. Janes, and Mrs. F. J. Simpson, representing the Town Clerk, Major F. J. Simpson, who was unable to attend.

The family mourners were: Mr. Wm. Arthur Pettitt, Rushden (son), and Mrs. G. Britchford (daughter), Mr. Fred Pettitt and Mrs. W. Bailey, Irthlingborough (son and daughter), Mr. Albert Pettitt, Rushden, and Mrs. B. Clipson, Woodford (son and daughter), Mrs. W. Cumperpatch, Rushden, and Mrs. A. Pettitt (daughter and daughter-in-law), Mrs. F. Pettitt and Mrs. A. J. Pettitt (daughters-in-law). Mrs. Pettitt (widow) and Mrs. W. Hales (sister) were unable to attend owing to illness.

Mourners at the graveside included Councillor A. C. A. Colton, Councillor B. W. Benford, Mr. F. G. Felce (Mayor's Sergeant and secretary of the State Section, Loyal Earl Fitzwilliam Lodge of Oddfellows), Mr. John Bates (trustee, Earl Fitzwilliam Lodge), Messrs. J. Judd, G. Brown, F. Brown and J. Parker (bedesmen), and Mrs. F. W. Margetts.

[a list of wreaths follows]

The Co-operative Federal Funeral Service carried out the funeral arrangements.

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