The family of local man Don Pellett, who passed away on Friday June 27 at the age of 89, has paid tribute to the man they called “Mr Bexhill.”
Don died in the Conquest Hospital of complications following a fall and a broken leg, leaving them to come to terms with the loss of a “brilliant”, “larger-than-life”, generous and warm personality who meant the world to them.
He was well known in the past in local football as first a talented player but then as successful manager of Bexhill Town football club.
Don leaves four daughters - Donna, Susan, Angela, and Kathryn - as well as eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was born in Sidley on June 12 1925 and was one of eight children.
He left school at 14 and went on to work in the building trade after serving as a teenager in the Navy during WW2 from 1943-45.
After the war, he returned to Bexhill and worked his way up the industry in companies such as Larkin before setting up his own business, D.R Pellett.
He was a keen sportsman who enjoyed football and boxing, and having played in Hastings and Bexhill, as well as Sidley, he became manager of Bexhill Town in 1965 and that year saved the club from relegation.
The team went on to win the Sussex County League in 1965/66 and 66/67, and were runners-up the following season. The team also won the Sussex Intermediate Cup and by coincidence his grandson Graham also achieved this when playing for Hastings Town.
Don had married Mary in 1954 and they brought their family up in first Eversley Road and then Linden Road, where Don lived for 55 years.
His daughters have fond memories of setting off in a VW campervan for holidays in France and Spain as Don was keen to take them to experience different places and enjoy the adventure.
Younger sister Maureen said: “The thing about Don was that he knew everybody. He liked talking to people. He was the sort of man you heard before you saw him,” and his daughters this week remembered a man who could not walk through Tesco supermarket without chatting to almost everyone in it, and who became “an extended Grandad” to many outside his own family.
Sue helped look after him daily towards the end of his life and said: “I thought I was the lucky one to do that. But he loved us all equally, and we loved him equally. We were his absolute everything.”
Don was especially proud to accompany Angela with her soldier son Lee Hastings who was invited to attend the Queen’s garden party to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Grenadier Guards.
The funeral will held on Monday July 14 at Eastbourne crematorium from 11.30am. Immediate family flowers only, so donations to be made to Towner in Albert Road.