Former mayor who 'spent life helping town' remembered

Former Beccles mayor Monty Pitkin has died aged 87.

Former Beccles mayor Monty Pitkin has died aged 87. - Credit: Jennifer Langeskov

A selfless volunteer with a "lifetime of dedicated service" to improving his town has been remembered following his death.

Montagu David Pitkin, known as Monty, passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 15 after years of working tirelessly to support residents and groups in Beccles.

His family moved to Beccles after World War I and, after leaving school at 15, Mr Pitkin helped his father's business before working his way from office boy at Darby's Timber Merchants to becoming managing director in 1978, before retiring in 1992.

His passion for motorbikes took him across Europe, but an accident in Norfolk in 1962 resulted in him losing a leg. He returned to work, on crutches, within months.

The 87-year-old was also honoured by the Royal Humane Society for his "praiseworthy action" in saving a man from drowning outside his riverside property in 2003 when he heard shouts of help from a driver trapped in a car which had flipped over a wall and became lodged on the river bank.

Jennifer Langeskov, of Beccles Townlands Charity, said: "Monty will be missed by many and the town, and its people, are better for his years of dedicated service.

"From 1977 to 2018, he was an invaluable member of our charity, known commonly as the Feoffees, with his wide knowledge of Beccles and its inhabitants being his greatest assets.

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"Monty saw the charity develop from one providing basic and limited support to its current position of being able to help fund major projects of benefit to the town and its people.

"Not much deterred Monty over the years from living a normal life, which was evidence of his enormous strength of character and determination."

In 1979, Mr Pitkin joined Beccles Town Council, and served two terms as mayor, in 1991 and 2001, before retiring from the council in 2004 after 25 years.

In 1967, he joined the Regatta committee, going on to serve as chairman, and was also an honorary life member of Waveney Stardust, where he was invited to Buckingham Palace when the group were awarded the Queen's Commendation for volunteering.

He also served on the Ringsfield Hall Trust, was a trustee of the 5th Beccles Scouts, and was church warden in Gillingham for many years.